Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Sri Lanka all-rounder Thisara Perera has been appointed as captain for the upcoming ODI and Twenty20 series against India.
Upul Tharanga is Sri Lanka’s regular skipper in limited overs cricket, but Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have confirmed that the change in leadership is only for the ongoing tour of India.
Thisara has never captained in the 50-over format before, but does have experience leading Sri Lanka in Twenty20 Internationals as he was handed the leadership role during the recent Twenty20 series against Pakistan after Tharanga opted not to travel to Lahore for the third Twenty20 International.
“All teams go through tough patches, it’s up to each of us to get past our mental barriers and perform best for our country,” Thisara said on Wednesday. “The goal for each one of us is to bring glory to our country. This must be clearly stated. I can confidently say that although India are currently best in the world in all three formats, if you compare each player of our team with any player in the world [not only India] we are on par with the best of the best.
“My policy as captain is to stop dwelling on the past and failures, and to march forward together with my team, with our eyes firmly planted on the goal of bringing glory to our motherland,” Thisara said. “I believe that if each player can perform to his individual potential, we can easily win this series.”
While Thisara knows that his form in both formats has not been up to par as of late, he pointed out that he has enjoyed a lot of success when participating in domestic Twenty20 competitions.
This was particularly the case when he was part of a World XI squad that toured Pakistan for three Twenty20 Internationals in September as he scored 96 runs at an average of 48 and was the highest wicket-taker with six victims at an average of 18.50.
SLC CEO Ashley De Silva admitted that even though Sri Lanka were whitewashed 3-0 in the Twenty20 series against Pakistan, the board were still impressed by Thisara’s “aggressive” style of captaincy.
“The selectors noticed that he got a lot of support from the players during the T20 series in UAE and Pakistan, and we expect the same support and cooperation to be extended by the players,” de Silva said. “We felt that he carried out his duties very effectively, and he was also a very aggressive captain. So I think when it comes to ODIs and T20s, that is what is required and the selectors have identified his capabilities.”
Chairman of selectors Graeme Labrooy added: “We are keen to implement our selections policy across the board in all aspects of the game, and Thisara’s appointment is one such move. We believe this is the leadership skillset the team needs right now, and have made this decision specifically with our long-term goals in mind.”
With Thisara being handed the captaincy for the limited overs series against India, there are no doubts that questions will be raised about Tharanga’s future as captain.
However, Labrooy insisted that nothing is going to change in regards to the captaincy set-up going forward.
“Quite contrary to the baseless speculation on social media sites, Tharanga had not failed us in any way,” he said. “We want him to keep making big scores and want him to concentrate on his game without burdening him with the captaincy. This is merely a strategic move, and we have discussed it with Tharanga too, who being the 100% team player he is, understands our reasoning and requirement.
“We are keen to implement our selections policy across the board in all aspects of the game, and Thisara’s appointment is one such move. We believe this is the leadership skillset the team needs right now, and have made this decision specifically with our long-term goals in mind.”