Sri Lankan vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal’s bad stint was put to rest after three consecutive defeats in the recently concluded one-day international series against South Africa. The wicket-keeper batsman was not even close to his best throughout series away from home.
Sri Lanka went on to lose the series five-nil despite coming ever so close to a rare win in the 4th one day international. The Twenty20 series win was Sri Lanka’s only accomplishment as the Proteas annihilated them in the Test series upfront.
Vice-captain Dinesh Chandimal was in the spotlight as much was expected from the seniors in the side, especially in the absence of captain Angelo Mathews. Chandimal was beaten by extra pace but Imran Tahir’s orthodox spin often took him by surprise in the middle overs. This left him with no complaints as batsmen from the sub-continent often master spin away from home.
Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya had no patience either. He was forced to remove Dinesh Chandimal from the squad with immediate effect. He further exaggerated that Chandimal is better off playing club cricket to get back in rhythm.
“Chandimal should go back to club cricket. He should work his game out. This is not the first time he has gone through a tough patch. He has to be mentally very strong. You can’t think of failure all the time. Have a chat to the computer analyst, find out what’s going wrong and come back stronger. These are tough times for him. You find media and social media going after you, and you have to keep these things aside and concentrate on your cricket,” said Jayasuriya.
Furthermore, Dinesh Chandimal was not included in the upcoming three-match Twenty20 squad to play Australia. Instead, the selectors recalled Chamara Kapugedara and all-rounder Milinda Siriwardena. Upul Tharanga retained his position as the captain of the side.
Sanath was also straight forward to comment on the extra layer of grass on pitches in South Africa.
“I am not trying to give excuses and I admit we played bad cricket – we should be up for any challenge. But having said that, I must mention that I have never seen so much of grass in South Africa especially when it comes to one-day cricket. In ODIs, you generally get wickets that are good for batting. Port Elizabeth, for example, is the slowest wicket in South Africa, but this time I found they had left a lot of grass [on],” added Jayasuriya.
Dinesh Chandimal was one of Sri Lanka’s brightest in late 2016, when Australia toured, suffering their maiden series whitewash against Sri Lanka. He made a series of half centuries in the limited over series that followed.
His century against Australia was termed as his best by coach Graham Ford.
“I think Chandi took on the hard work, which shows great maturity. It’s t probably the most valuable innings he’s played. I know he played a blinder against India last year, but this one for temperament and fight in difficult conditions goes down as his best hundred,” said Ford.
Nevertheless, Chandi’s temperament and determination can certainly help him regain form in the club level. Once he’s back at his best, he will have plenty to offer as a batsman. Therefore, it’s important to stay positive as losing a player of Chandimal’s caliber can certainly hurt Sri Lanka in the longer run.
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