The controversial Sri Lankan player-manager is again in the spotlight for the wrong reasons after allegedly forcing a change in the playing XI for the second T20I against India on Thursday (July 28) at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
One of the leading player-managers going around in Sri Lankan cricketing circles, the individual made the headlines for reportedly taking 10 percent commission from many of his clients during last year’s inaugural Lanka Premier League (LPL).
According to reports, the player-manager is also in touch with the senior members of the Sri Lankan team management, trying to make a case for his ‘clients’. In fact, he even had a hand in one of the two changes Sri Lanka made before last night’s T20I.
“This has become an utter nuisance. We were compelled to leave out a promising all-rounder from the second T20I against India solely due to such influence coming from his manager. We actually wanted to play him but we decided against it for his manager’s influence,” sources told Morning Sports.
Sri Lanka made two changes to the side which lost the opening game by 38 runs on Sunday. Ashen Bandara made way for debutant Ramesh Mendis, while Sadeera Samarawickrama came in place of the in-form Charith Asalanka. Now going by stats, Asalanka – who was deemed injured – has better bowling numbers in domestic cricket as compared to Bandara.
People in Sri Lanka are aware of this ongoing favouritism, and they have been calling for player-management to be sent under the purview of either the government or Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Dhananjaya de Silva makes all-round contributions as Sri Lanka level T20I series
After being put into bat, captain Shikhar Dhawan (40 off 42) and debutant Ruturaj Gaikwad (21 off 18) gave a steady start by seeing India through the powerplay and putting on 49 runs for the opening wicket. But as the ball grew older and the pitch slower, the scoring dried up.
India were a batsman short, and barring the openers and Devdutt Padikkal (29 off 23) – who was one of the four debutants the visitors were forced to play – nobody scored more than 15 as Sri Lanka restricted the Dhawan-led side to a paltry 132 for 5.
But the match eventually turned out to be a nail-biter as Sri Lanka never really looked comfortable in the chase. India’s spinners made run-scoring difficult as the hosts lost wickets at regular intervals. Even though opener Minod Bhanuka scored 36 off 31, Sri Lanka found themselves in a precarious situation at 94 for 5 with five overs left.
But Dhananjaya de Silva, who earlier conceded 13 runs in his two overs, held his nerves and struck a circumspect 40* off 34 balls to guide Sri Lanka to a four-wicket win, with just two balls remaining.