Here we look at a few promising players who had supreme starts to their careers but struggled to make it in the national side later on due to various factors.
Free hit contributor – Adeeb Saleemdeen
1. Thilina Kandamby
The left-handed middle order batsman made his international debut back in 2004 against Zimababwe but couldn’t perform up to potential as his first appearance ended scoreless. Kandamby also failed miserably in the next few fixtures and he was axed from the national side. Despite the horror run at the international circuit, he put on some decent efforts at the domestic seasons. The captaincy reins of Bloomfield was handed over to Kandamby in 2004 and his batting performance exploded well at the limited overs tournament in the following year bagging the man of series award. The retirement of some of the big guns after the 2007 World cup opened up doors for Kandamby, and the much awaited call for the test squad came in 2009 but he couldn’t earn a spot in the playing XI. Since his recall Kandamby was in fine touch going past the half century mark 5 times in the 50 over format.
Kandamby also got a golden opportunity to lead the T20 side in 2011 and the islanders cruised to a thumping 9 wicket victory over England. He also has taken charge as the vice-captain in a few instances. The list of captaincies continued as he lead the Uva Next franchise to a title win in the only edition of SLPL.
The prolific form of Kandamby was discarded by the selectors as he was axed from the World cup squad in 2011. The magnificent form of many youngsters such as Angelo Mathews and Chamara Kapugedara yielded uncertainty for Kandamby who found himself in a desperate situation to find a spot in the middle order. Disappointingly, it was curtains for Kandamby in 2011 and he retired at the age of 33 from all three formats. In his short career he has featured 39 times as an ODI player and has accumulated 870 runs with a average of 29. He couldn’t obtain much success as a T20 batsman as he has only scored 13 runs out of his 5 outings. Kandamby has currently taken up position as the coach of the Royal college cricket team.
2. Farveez Maharoof
The international career of this prolific all rounder is all but over. Maharoof made his first appearance in an ODI against Zimababwe and started off the career on a very good note. He was slotted to the playing XI in the 3rd ODI of that particular series as some of the regular pacers were rested. The inexperienced fast bowlers of Sri Lanka managed to topple Zimababwe for 35 runs setting up the record of the lowest ODI score. The debutant Maharoof sent off 3 batsmen back to the pavilion completing a brilliant spell of pace bowling. The champions trophy campaign in 2004 was also tremendously poised as Maharoof pulled off some decent performances throughout that series.
The World cup debut in 2007 was also phenomenal. The young pacie ended the contest completing with match figures of 4/23 against Bermuda. Furthermore, he became the first Sri Lankan to achieve a four-wicket haul on WC debut. With the inclusion of Angelo Mathews, Maharoof was in and out of the playing XI. With Mathews performing exceptionally and Maharoof’s consistency failing, he struggled to retain his place. The match winning effort of 5/42, including a hat trick against India in 2010 didn’t impress the selectors as he was left out from the world cup squad in 2011. Maharoof made his comback in the tour of England but couldn’t execute his county cricket experiences to success. He was forced to stay out due to injury concerns and he made a surprise comeback in 2016 yet again against England but failed to exploit the seaming conditions to a winning cause.
Maharoof had a notable cameo of 69 against Pakistan and went past the half century mark on 2 occasions and had dismissed 142 batsmen in the shorter format with a healthy economy rate of 6. The latest assignment of Maharoof was the Hong Kong sixes 2017.
3. Chamara Silva
Having fallen first ball to Kiwi pacers, Chamara Silva was unfortunate to complete a pair as he was dismissed for a duck yet again on test debut. However, Silva made a stunning ODI debut against the Aussies scoring a valuable half century, but he struggled to nail a permanent spot in the squad. Two back to back centuries in the test series against New Zealand had the pendulum swinging back towards Silva and he was named to the World cup squad in 2007. His decent world cup debut assured a firm position in the middle order. The test form of Silva was in a spot of bother, as he failed to accumulate the runs consistently. As a result the selectors opted to end the test career of Silva after the series against the Windies.
Silva had a decent run at the shorter format making some valuable contributions in the 2007 World cup and the 2009 T20 World cup as the Lankans competed up to the semifinals but failed to subdue the opponents in the finals. The abortive World cup effort in 2011 and the demanding averages of a few rising players saw Silva’s short international career concluded in the series against Pakistan in 2011. Chamara Silva has played 75 ODIs and 16 T20s representing Sri Lanka. He has a top score of 152 in test and a compact 107 as the best score of the 50 over format.
4. Prasanna Jayawardene
Prasanna Jayawardane is renowned for showing some brilliant skills behind the wicket in test cricket. He made his international debut in 2000 against Pakistan but failed to seize his position as the regular wicket keeper because of Kumara Sangakkara was the go-to option. The right hander was recalled in 2006 for the series against the South Africans and got the duties behind the wicket in 2007 against the Aussies due to the absence of Sangakkara and impressed the selectors by a few terrific knocks. His skills behind the wicked were impressive and it helped Prasanna to snatch the regular wicket keeper position.The maiden test hundred also came in the same year against Bangladesh. Prasanna received the ODI cap in 2003 but the stint at the shoter format wasn’t too promising for the wicket keeper-batsman as he had a below par average of 5.4 playing 6 games. The awful averages at the shorter format forced the selectors to brand him as a test specialist.
Despite, the frustration at the shoter format, Jayawardene has 4 test hundreds under his belt. The spotlight among those was the 112 he made against England in Cardiff. The inclusion of Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera and Niroshan Dickwella has pulled back Jayawardane to a stand-by option as his last appearance as a test wicket keeper was in 2015. Prasanna Jayawardane is currently playing county cricket representing Woodhall Spa CC.
5. Jeewan Mendis
The emphatic performances at school level and the domestic seasons lifted Mendis to the international stage as he made the ODI debut in 2010 against Zimababwe. Mendis showed his all-round skills effectively by scoring some valuable cameos and picking up wickets at regular intervals on his debut series. Mendis failed to settle in as a regular spin option with Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath in the side. Disappointingly, Mendis missed out the 2011 World cup but got an opportunity to feature in the 2012 T20 World cup. Mendis started off the series with a stellar show, scoring an unbeaten 43 off 30 balls followed up by a tremendous spell of 3/24 with the ball.
Mendis failed to continue his superior form in the following fixtures and he was unconsidered for couple of tours. He was recalled to the tour of New Zealand and also was a part of the World cup squad in 2015. With the likes of Thisara Perera and Seekkuge Prasanna making it to the squad, Mendis found himself in a arduous position to retain his slot. Perera and Prasanna were the premier options for the selectors at that stage, the approach and the ability of scoring quick runs of this duo almost ceased the opportunities of a comeback for Mendis at the international level. Mendis failed to break into the side after the tour of New Zealand in 2015.
Jeevan Mendis has 28 scalps in 54 ODIs and has managed to dismiss 6 batsmen in T20s. The batting statistics were not impressive as he has only managed to score a single fifty in the shoter format. Despite the short stint at the international level Mendis has been in a dazzling form in the T20 leagues.
6. Thilan Thushara
After the retirement of the legendary Chaminda Vaas, the Sri Lankans failed to replace him with a perfect left arm seamer. Thilan Thushara showed some promising signs of filling up those lofty shoes early on taking a wicket on the very first ball on his ODI debut in 2008 becoming the 18th bowler to do so. He also ended the contest in a spectacular way by conceding only 12 runs delivering 6 overs. After a below par test debut in 2003, Thushara was considered back in 2008 for the test series against the Windies. He didn’t disappoint the selectors as he picked 5 wickets on his comeback. The Sri Lankans fancied their chances in the shorter format with the rousing new ball combination of Kulasekara and Thushara.
Disappointingly, Thushara failed to be a part of the Lankan outfit after 2010 due to a major knee injury. He had featured in 38 ODIs and has 50 scalps with a career best figure of 5/47. The comeback of Thushara is improbable as Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep have built up firm positions in the side.