Chamara Kapugedera is seen here in an England vs Sri Lanka World T20 match played in Delhi in March 26, 2016. Kapugedera will join a select band of Lankan cricketers today as he features in his 100th ODI, at Pallekele against India. Strangely the 30-year-old has taken 11 years to complete the landmark amid markedly mediocre display of batting. (AFP / Files)
Rex Clementine at Pallekele
Middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedera will join a limited group of Sri Lankan cricketers at his home town today as he features in his 100th One-Day International. He is the 27th Sri Lankan to achieve the milestone. Strangely it has taken 11 years for the 30-year-old to complete the landmark and a look at his statistics reveal a pity story.
When Tom Moody was coach, he was promoting young talent to take the team forward and despite little achievement in domestic cricket, Kapugedera was called up to the senior side. Few had noticed his talent as he wasn’t part of Sri Lanka’s Under-19 side. But once he joined the senior side, few doubted his enormous potential and he made an immediate impact in his ODI debut, of all places at Perth, the fastest wicket in the world.
He made a quick 22 against an attack that had Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee. Kapugedera was only 18. Five months later, Moody pushed for his Test debut that too at Lord’s – the home of cricket. Some 22 years prior to that, a 19-year-old had made his Test debut at Lord’s. Aravinda de Silva is his name and soon the comparisons started, but they didn’t go any further.
On his return home from England with everyone hailing him as the next big thing in Sri Lankan cricket, the first thing Kapugedera did was to get a tattoo done. Instead of focusing on cricket and committing himself to the sport, Kapugedera, a product of Dharmaraja College, Kandy, was fascinated by the night life in Colombo.
A man whom many thought will go onto lead Sri Lanka one day gradually fell off the pecking order.
Not only in international cricket, Kapugedera has failed miserably in domestic cricket as well. He averages 32 in First Class cricket and 28 in List A Cricket (Domestic one-dayers). Pretty mediocre stuff.
The selectors need to provide answers as to why the public shouldn’t suspect that there’s something fishy with his selection despite continuous failures.
He has also got the worst statistics when compared with the other players who have completed a century of ODI matches. In 99 ODIs, Kapugedera has scored eight fifties and no century. His ODI average of 20 is appalling to say the least while the Strike Rate of 72 gives you confirmation how much he has been hyped up.
The defence the authorities give us when questioned about Sri Lanka’s struggles in recent times is that they are in transition. When you pick a 30-year-old ‘serial failure’ into your squad, how on earth can you say that you are in transition. It is something beyond our comprehension.