Saturday, September 24, 2016

Half plus half equals one

Dilhara  Lokuhettige, one time fast bowling all rounder of Sri Lanka, has accused Angelo Mathews for "not selecting him" in his retirement press conference. The evidence he gives dates back to 2013, where he found from a selector that Angelo chose a different player instead of him. "The captain wanted a batsman instead of an all rounder", says Lokuhettige.

Now this story falls apart itself. Lokuhettige is a 110k bolwer, and Angelo was correct that he does not need another player who bowls at same speeds as himself occupying a slot where a proper batsman can play. In fact Lokuhettige has been given ample chances long before Angelo  played under 19, and has never done anything special, only noteworthy is the 26 runs-an-over  humiliation in the hands of Sehwag around 2005. There is nothing needing explanation about Angelo's decision. Obviously it wasn't personal, but was based on principle, that a proper batter should play the all rounder slot.

And that principle, which Angelo seems to have forgotten today, has opened a worthy discussion, which is more relevant than Lokuhettige legacy itself.

Batsman for an all rounder, or bowler for an all rounder, would have been a nice theory to revive limited overs cricket of Sri Lanka today as the team is plagued with such players who will not be selected for their batting skills or bowling skills considered alone. But just because of their half skills in each discipline, they earn the classification of all rounder. Half and half summed to one and then they are in the playing XI.

Term "all rounder" may be misused here. Players like Angelo Mathews are by all means all rounders, just  like  how Sanath  Jayasuriya  or Kapil Dev  was. But they developed one  discipline to such an  extent  that they'd  be  selected only on that basis. In that light, their other skill becomes only an add on. 

After 2015 WC Sri Lanka has started using these "half plus half equals one" players quite often, and with no surprise, their returns in every discipline is not much different to Lokuhettige. However they keep getting selected as the captain seems to have redefined his principle as "all rounders for batters and bowlers". Even at the era of batting carnage, Sri Lanka is throwing these half bowlers and gets hammered around the park.

Dilhara Lokuhettige made a claim which is becoming laugh lot in all circles. But in the wake of that claim what Angelo should ponder is how far he has deviated from his correct call in 2013. How many Lokuhettiges he's carrying with him today where talented others wait for a chance.

In simple Angelo should follow Angelo of 2013. Perhaps that is a good nourishment to pick from the dirty can of worms served today in many press conferences.

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