Aravinda says Chandimal very much in selectors’ thoughts


by Rex Clementine


The support former Ananda College batsman Dinesh Chandimal is getting to become a regular member of the national cricket team is growing by the day and only on Saturday national captain Kumar Sangakkara said that Chandimal will be one of the nine batsmen he wants in his World Cup squad. The question as to why Chandimal has not been part of Sri Lanka’s squad in the current tri-nation series has been asked and Chairman of Selectors Aravinda de Silva told ‘The Island’ that the 20-year-old has been used carefully by the cricket administration.

"We love to have him in the squad, but the thing is we don’t want him to be idling in the national squad," de Silva told ‘The Island’ yesterday. "What we do is to after picking the squad; we let the team management decide on the final 11. They see the wicket, the conditions and the form and are in a better position to make that decision. When we asked the team management whether he will be included in the final 11, we got the feeling that most of the time it’s difficult to get him to bat at number three or four because Mahela and Sanga are there. We feel that he’s better off playing cricket with the ‘A’ side to keep his form going rather than be among the reserves in the national side," de Silva said explaining the decision to keep Chandimal out of the squad.

Dinesh Chandimal, who hails from Ambalangoda, made a hundred in his second One-Day International when Sri Lanka played India in Zimbabwe in a tri-nation competition in June and smashed a double hundred last week in a four day unofficial Test against South Africa ‘A’ at the SSC.

Even if Chandimal returns to the national side after the tri-nation competition, he will have less than ten ODIs with the national team as there are very few international fixtures leading up to the World Cup. Not just Chandimal, but the limited number of games Sri Lanka have ahead of the World Cup has been a concern, but de Silva said that the administrators have made arrangements to play the inter-provincial tournament just before the World Cup to keep the players in good nick.

"That is the very reason why team management requested us to play the domestic inter-provincial tournament just before the World Cup. We wanted to finish off five weeks prior to the World Cup, but the team management wanted not to finish too early. They wanted to play cricket prior to the World Cup. In return, we didn’t want it to be too close to World Cup as if there are injuries players need to recover. The Inter-Provincial tournament will now end like three weeks prior to the World Cup," he said.

De Silva, country’s most celebrated batsman after enabling Sri Lanka win its only World Cup so far with an unbeaten hundred in the final, was happy with the performance of all-rounder Tissara Perera in the last ODI against India in Dambulla, but reminded that the selectors were looking at consistency. "It was a good performance, but what we look for is not just one good performance. We want consistency. We don’t expect him to take five wickets in the next game, but we want players who perform every three or four games out of five. Someone can do well in one game and people get carried away, but teams tend to work you out and then the challenge starts."

De Silva also said that the selectors wanted off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan to return to the team when Sri Lanka tour Australia for a three match ODI series and for the domestic tournament that follows. "We spoke to Murali. He was in Malaysia. He’s taking part in Champions League. We asked him whether he’s been training. I feel he should get some cricket under his belt before the World Cup. He’ll probably be back for the Australian tour. Maybe after that we like to see him in a few domestic matches."

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