the wrong 'un

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Oh Lanka, Lanka

In response to Andy's post below.

Historically, Sri Lanka have never had much depth. One or two good test batsmen and bowlers, and much mediocrity besides.

At the moment, their batting is particularly weak. Even if Jayasuriya returns to test cricket, he is some way past his formidable peak, and of the others, only Jayawardene and Sangakkara have any pedigree at the top level. Rarely is it a immediate success when a team that bloods three or four batsmen at the same time.

As for their bowling, Vaas and Murali have carried them for over a decade. Say what you like about Murali - what the heck, it's my blog, I will.

Murali throws the ball, always has done. By all accounts, he's a lovely bloke, but this does not, as far as i'm aware, absolve him from his obligation not to straighten his arm during delivery, nor does the fact that he's only a spinner. The defence that his arm cannot straighten fully has never been valid, because the law disallows partial straightening too. But it is not his fault that
he's never been banned, and it must be admitted that the figures he has accumulated over his career are astounding. He would walk into any test team (the thought of him bowling at one end and Warne the other would cause David Frith's publishers to commission another three volumes on cricketing suicides), and he has won dozens of matches virtually on his own. Vaas too is a bowler of the very highest class. 300 test wickets at 28, without any significant new ball support, all the while labouring under the formidable burden of being named Warnakulasuriya Patabendige Ushantha Joseph Chaminda Vaas, that's a worthy effort.

But since I can't see either of them continuing long after next year's World Cup, judging from what I've seen of their younger players so far, the medium term prognosis does not seem a happy one.


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