Tillakaratne Dilshan to captain Sri Lanka on English tour, opener named new captain in place of Kumar Sangakkara

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Robbie McEwen

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  • Tillakaratne Dilshan to captain Sri Lanka on English tour, opener named new captain in place of Kumar Sangakkara

Tillakaratne Dilshan to captain Sri Lanka on English tour, opener named new captain in place of Kumar Sangakkara

Flamboyant opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan has been named the new Sri Lankan captain in place of Kumar Sangakkara who relinquished the post at the end of the World Cup earlier this month.

Dilshan who made a big name for himself in the World Cup with a tally of more than 500 runs, he has been a re-born cricketer ever since he started opening the batting for his team at the start of 2009. The 34 year old has earned a reputation for being a fierce hitter of the ball who can tear any attack apart on his day.

He was widely tipped to take over the mantle of the team after his World Cup performance, yet there is a school of thought that feels that he can not last till the next edition of the tournament that is four years down the line.

While making the announcement the Sri Lanka Cricket Board did not name a deputy for the right hand bat, they think that the time is not rife for such an appointment in the prevailing circumstances.

The vice-captain had to be named as seasoned middle-order batsman Mahela Jayawardene who was Sangakkara’s deputy in the World Cup left the job immediately after Sangakkara stepped down from his post.

The Board announcement regarding Dilshan’s deputy stated that a decision has not been made in this regard as the prospective candidates are nursing injuries, and their availability for the forthcoming tour to England is in question, as such the announcement was deferred for the time being.  

On the other hand the appointment at the helm of Dilshan ends weeks of speculation over whether he, or 23-year-old allrounder Angelo Mathews, would be named as Sangakkara's immediate successor. Many cricketing pundits in the country were of the opinion that the young all-rounder needed to be given the confidence and made captain despite his youth.

They feel that he has it in him to play for a long time with distinction and remains a hope for the future of the game in the country. However injury concerns about Mathews went against him.

He is presently fighting to recover from a leg injury which he said could keep him out for eight weeks, meaning that his participation in the tour to England is in serious jeopardy.

Meanwhile the appointment of Dilshan would be welcomed by his predecessor Sangakkara who had stated after quitting that he feels that either of the two could take over as the captain. "If they think Angie [Angelo] is too young then Dilshan will do a good job because he has these little touches for success. Anything he does on the field, he has this little knack," he said. "I don't know whether he will be the long-term candidate with his age, but if he keeps himself fit he can easily play the next World Cup."

Sangakkara had also stated that he was willing to lead the test team if the Board wanted, however Dilshan has been named captain in all three formats which means that the tenure of his predecessor is well and truly over.

Dilshan has had a taste of captaincy at the highest level before; he captained the team and led them to a win in a triangular ODI series in Zimbabwe - the third team being India –

Sri Lankan cricket fans are hopeful that he the appointment would not affect his batting form and runs would keep flowing of his bat in the years to come.