Chandimal and Thirimanne live up to expectationsAugust 18, 2012, 3:53 pm
by Rex Clementine
Spare a thought for that man Tillekeratne Dilshan. During his entire tenure as captain, attending media briefings with the national team going through a horror patch, he kept us reminding that he may go down in history as a poor captain, but ten years on from now, he will put up his feet up and enjoy reminiscing that he gave so many young players opportunities. That he said was his biggest contribution as Sri Lankan captain, although there are some other obvious ones that he contributed.
"He is one of the fine youngsters we have found. It’s been a fantastic debut for him. Not just his batting, but keeping as well. I am sure he will be a big star in future. Once I retire I am glad that I can watch talents like Chandimal doing well for the country. I can tell you today that he will be the next Sri Lankan batsman to score 10,000 Test runs," Dilshan said after Dinesh Chandimal’s Test debut in Durban last year which resulted in Sri Lanka’s maiden Test win in South Africa.
Dilshan was also the captain when Lahiru Thirimanne made his Test debut at Rose Bowl last year against England and he should be happy for persuading with these two young players after they were shortlisted for the ICC Emerging Player of the Year award.
The qualifying criteria for ICC Emerging Cricketer of the Year award is that a player must be under the age of 26 and have played fewer than five Tests and/or ten ODIs and five T-20s. The other players shortlisted alongside the Sri Lankan duo are Trent Boult (NZ), Doug Bracewell (NZ), Pat Cummins (Aus), Nasir Hossain (Bang), Junaid Khan (Pak), Nathan Lyon (Aus), Tino Mawoyo (Zim), Sunil Narine (WI), James Pattinson (Aus), and Matthew Wade (Aus).
The two players have shown excellent temperament over the last few months. Chandimal’s returns weren’t as much as expected during the series against India and Pakistan, but he was the second highest run scorer in Australia during the tri-nation series down under and for a player to do well in Australian conditions in the ultimate challenge. His century at Lord’s last year also remains fresh in the memories of Sri Lankan fans.
Lahiru Thirimanne, like Chandimal, went through immense hardships growing up. He was even unfairly overlooked initially for the under-19 World Cup before injury to another player brought him back into contention. There were murmurs when he was initially selected in the Sri Lankan squad for the tour of England last year. And when Dilshan got injured at Lord’s and was ruled out from the third Test he was competing for the opener’s slot with Chandimal.
There was a warm up game at Chelmsford against Essex ahead of the third Test and both players were included in the side for that three day game. Chandimal was exciting playing a few big shots, but Thirimanne was solid and went onto compile a hundred and earned his Test debut at Rose Bowl.
Thirimanne in the fifth ODI against India at Pallekele showed what he is capable of as the hosts fought back from a hopeless position before losing the game after the left-handed batsman was run out. Had he taken Sri Lanka across the line, the knock would have been even more special, as Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene didn’t play that game and Tillekeratne Dilshan was dismissed for a duck.
Thankfully, the doomsday prophets’ predications are no longer valid and the future of Sri Lankan cricket looks bright and promising. Apart from these two, the Sri Lankans also have other young players such as Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera while more young players such as Dimuth Karunaratne and others are knocking on the doors.
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Last Updated May 24 2013 | 07:02 pm