Ranatunga hits out at Jayasuriya after Chandimal snub


World Cup winning former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has hit out at the Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya after Dinesh Chandimal was snubbed from the first three ODIs against Zimbabwe.

Chandimal didn’t find a place in the squad picked for the first two ODIs and although the selectors had promised to draft him into the squad from the third ODI onwards, it didn’t happen.

“After Mahela (Jayawardene) and Kumar (Sangakkara), the best players I have seen are Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal. The selectors have already destroyed one and they are in the process of destroying the other. I would like to urge them to stop killing natural talent. Why we are struggling is because we have mismanaged our talents,” Ranatunga told Cricbuzz in an interview.

Jayasuriya and his team that was appointed in May last year were given an extension till December 2017 two days ago. Citing examples of Marvan Atapattu and Jayasuriya himself, who took a while to get going in international cricket, Ranatunga stressed on the virtue of patience.

“These young players need to be protected. Marvan (Atapattu) scored five ducks in his first six innings. But we knew he had the talent and backed him to the hilt. Look at what he achieved in the end. He retired having scored 5500 Test runs, which is more than what I managed,” said Ranatunga.

“In his first 55 ODIs, Sanath scored only one half-century. We were under pressure to drop him, but we persevered with him knowing what he was capable of doing once he gained experience. He went onto break many world records. I am sad Sanath is not showing the patience that we showed with him,” noted Ranatunga.

Since he retired in 2011, Jayasuriya has been the Chairman of Selectors for close to four years. Ranatunga blamed Jayasuriya for Sri Lanka’s current predicament, which he believes is because the young players haven’t been given a longer rope.

“I am disappointed that Sanath has failed to protect younger players and build teams for the future. Raw talent is rare and Sanath should stop killing raw talent. Chandimal has done extremely well for his age. He has four ODI hundreds at the age of 27, which is more than what Kumar Sangakkara or Aravinda de Silva had at that age. He had a bad Champions Trophy, but he is too good a player to be snubbed,” noted Ranatunga, who was Jayasuriya’s first captain.

“The current Zimbabwe series is the sort of ideal opportunity for him to get his confidence back,” Ranatunga added. “They have been making Chandimal to bat at number four, five, six and everywhere. Let him settle down at one position and he will be an outstanding player for you.”

“In my career, when I reached a stage where I could take up responsibility, people like Duleep (Mendis) and Roy (Dias) dropped down the batting order and gave Aravinda (De Silva) and myself the opportunity to bat higher up the order. That made life much easier for us. Then we did the same when guys like Sanga and Mahela came along. But unfortunately that tradition wasn’t followed. Sanga always batted at number three and Mahela always batted at number four,” Ranatunga concluded.