Aussies pushed off pedestal by Dhoni’s men: Sri Lankan cricketerOctober 26th, 2008 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS
Colombo, Oct 26 (IANS) Claiming that Australians have been “pushed off the mighty pedestal” by Dhoni’s men in Mohali, a former Sri Lankan cricketer said Sunday that the visiting world champions “were outplayed in batting, bowling, fielding and mental toughness” during the second test against the hosts India.A former Sri Lankan cricketer and leading television commentator, Ranil Abeynaike in his weekly column in the Sunday Times said that “suddenly the pendulum has swung” and the Aussies who have produced teams of balanced strength nearly for the past two decades “have received a jolt”.
“What has to be of immense concern is the margin of defeat and the manner in which they were crushed. A 320-run defeat is a comprehensive loss, indicating a loss in all quarters. It does not mean they should be written off, yet it exposes fragileness in the entire outfit,” Abeynaike said in his column.
“More than anything, they have been exposed as lacking in certain departments of the game. No team can continuously win every game and every tournament. However, for close on two decades the Aussies have produced teams of balanced strength,” he said.
Pointing out that the loss of top players such as Shane Warne, Glen McGrath, Damien Martyn, Justin Langer, Adam Gilchrist and Stuart McGill over the past couple of years “has caused the present debacle for the Aussies”, Abeynaike said that Sri Lanka should learn from this and concentrate on a future team as well.
Ringing an alarm bell, he said although Sri Lanka “is enjoying a run with a number of world class players”, including Mahela Jayewardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan, “most of these players could be gone between the next two to four years”.
“Never easy or near impossible to find replacements for such quality performers. What every team has to remember is that while the going is good, shadow players for the top rung must always be in the fray,” Abeynaike, who is also the curator of Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) said.
Indirectly coming hard on those who have been playing over the past 15 years without even thinking of retiring from the game, Abeynaike said that “those knocking on the door and are a few years younger are going to miss the bus altogether”.
Describing introduction of leg spinner Amit Mishra as “an unexpected debut” due to Kumble’s injury, he said that India and the world “have discovered another spinner” as a result.
“That is a difficulty in a team sport. To get in when there are established players is almost impossible. To grab the chance when it is a ‘one off’ is still difficult, but Mishra has done it,” he said.
“Just as much as players have to perform, those who select have to be clever. They have to look so much ahead and plan for the future. They have to go deep into domestic cricket and unearth players who can, in the future, deliver the goods. They must ensure that every position in a team has substitutes and players of varied ages, waiting in the wings,” Abeynaike said.