Dilshan disappointed at missing out Caribbean trip


by Rex Clementine

The year 2013 has been the year of breakthrough for Tillekeratne Dilshan. The former captain will turn 37 this October, an age after which a long lean spell is not tolerated. A determined Dilshan has been in fact at his best this year with both bat and ball. In 16 ODIs this year, Dilshan has already scored three centuries and averages an impressive 62: 72 and into the bargain has picked up eight wickets averaging 26.62, which is as good as the average of Lasith Malinga (25:09) this year.

His third ODI hundred this year came in the fourth ODI against South Africa on Sunday at Pallekele where he was named Man of the Match for his sparkling unbeaten 115. Dilshan is returning to the side after sustaining a calf injury, which forced him to miss Sri Lanka’s tour of the Caribbean and he spoke of the disappointment of missing out on a tour at a time when he has been at his best.

"I was very disappointed to sit at home and watch the proceedings in the Caribbean. Prior to that series I was 130 runs short of the 7500 run mark and that disappointed me. But you can’t really blame the injuries. I am thankful to all physiotherapists who worked hard for three weeks to get me in shape. I am still not 100 percent, but the support staff has done a wonderful job to get me where I am now," Dilshan told journalists after the game.

It was Dilshan’s 17th ODI century and only Sanath Jayasuriya with 28 tons in ODI cricket has scored more centuries than Dilshan. Dilshan adopted a slightly different approach as well on Sunday as it took 83 deliveries for his half-century, but his next 50 came off just 26 deliveries.

"I tried to bat as straight as possible. This was a better wicket than the last wicket. Once I got a start I wanted to get a big one. After the first ten overs, we knew they had to bring in their half bowlers and we were waiting to capitalize on that opportunity. That was the plan and we got a good start," Dilshan explained.

Dilshan also revealed that introduction of new rules to ODI cricket, where two new balls are used per innings had changed the approach the batsmen took. "With the new rules the pattern of scoring runs has changed. In the first ten overs it has become extremely difficult to score runs due to the two new balls. I think rather than hitting earlier on it’s safer if you have your wickets in tact because the last ten overs get easier."

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