Are the Lankan cricket selectors playing hide and seek?View(s):
By S.R. Pathiravithana
Is Sri Lanka’s ‘A’ team tour to the West Indies hitting the headlines for the wrong reasons? The Sunday Times reliably learns so.
In our page 27 article last week, we spoke about the inclusion of Ramith Rambukwella in the original 34-member un-pruned ‘A’ team squad, while a number of players who had performed better had been left out.
Subsequently seven names were added to the list making it a total of 41 players who went through the three two-day trial matches which were held in the latter half of April.
From the seven players who were added to the original list of 34, SSC’s prolific scorer Kaushal Silva, whom the Sunday Times argued upon, was selected to the final squad of fifteen to play the two four-day unofficial Tests in the Caribbean. The fifteen member team which will play two 4-day unofficial Tests was announced on April 25, but it was stated that the team for the second leg of the tour where the Lankan ‘A’ team would be engaged in three ODIs and two T20s would be announced later.
The Sunday Times asked a senior SLC official as to when the squads for the ODIs and the T-20s would be picked. He said the selectors would make use of the (hastily arranged) three-cornered limited overs tournament between three teams – a team comprising the non-IPL-playing national team members, a team comprising players from the Sri Lanka ‘A’ squad and a Combined Xl — to select the final squad for the Caribbean limited over matches. All matches will be played at the Pallekelle Cricket Stadium.
However, the Sunday Times learns that most cricketers who took part in the three trial matches, held to pick the final squad for the Caribbean unofficial Tests, did not pay much attention to the games because they knew that the team had already been chosen.
The Sunday Times also learns that in addition to the fifteen names that had already been announced on Thursday, the names of seven other players were also in the file. Among them was Ramith Rambukwella, son of Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella.
An irate SLC insider confessed that this entire exercise of doing away with the four-day provincial tournament was built-up with the idea of warding off any criticism which the SLC and the selectors would have to face by including Rambukwella in the ‘A’ team squad. Rambukwella turned out for the NCC, but did not enjoy an outstanding tournament and he was not among the first 48 players in the bowling or batting averages in the recently concluded Premier League tournament.
The SLC inter-provincial four-day tournament was scheduled to be played in May but officials, claiming that Sri Lanka would be engaged only in the shorter versions of the game in the near future, scrapped the four-day tournament and brought in the three-cornered ODI tournament instead.
On Thursday, Chief Selector Sanath Jayasuriya said that although players were coming after a long Premier League three-day tournament, he believed in trial matches, because it gave the selectors a chance to watch the players a lot more closely.
However, the Sunday Times learns that the seven names that were not announced along with the fifteen players who would be featured in the two four-day games in the West Indies are to be announced after the three cornered one-day tournament. They are Shehan Jayasuriya, Seekkuge Prasanna, Dilshan Munaweera, Kasun Madushanka, Milinda Siriwardane, Akila Dhananjaya and Ramith Rambukwella.
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