Sri Lanka’s maverick right-handed batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan called it a day from ODIs after the completion of third match against Australia at Dambulla on Sunday. Dilshan opened up on his days as the captain of the side and said he did not receive enough support from his teammates during his brief stint and was somewhat disappointed with his removal for the designation. Dilshan was appointed the national skipper after Kumar Sangakkara stepped down post the ICC World Cup final in 2011. ALSO READ: Tillakaratne Dilshan scores 42 in his final ODI innings
While speaking during the post-match conference, Dilshan said, “When I was hit in the fingers and was unable to play the two former captains refused to captain the side. One of them agreed only after a lot of convincing.” ALSO READ: 11 facts about the Sri Lankan all-rounder — Tillakaratne Dilshan
It is heart wrenching to see a veteran not getting enough back up from the side. Dilshan has been one of the pillars of strength and deserved a longer term as the captain of the side. ALSO READ: Kumar Sangakkara and other cricketers react on Tillakaratne Dilshan’s retirement announcement
However, Dilshan did not point out names but Sangakkara led the side in the third Test at Rose Bowl after Dilshan pulled out due to injury. Surprisingly, Angelo Mathews did not bowl when Dilshan was leading the side indicating injury issues but the all-rounder started putting in the hard yards few days after Dilshan pulled out. Dilshan said, “I was surprised that he started bowling just a week after I was taken off captaincy.”
Mathews is an impactful all-rounder and has the ability to pick wickets. Dilshan would have loved to see him bowling while he was leading the side.
Dilshan also emphasised on the fact that his game wasn’t affected after being sacked as the skipper of the side. His next tour in South Africa was fruitful with 213 runs in his basked at 51.30, which was also the top from his side.
Dilshan said, “At the end of that South Africa series, I put everything aside. I went to Australia, scored 500 runs, and became Man of the Series. It did not matter to me who was captain. I was not concerned about who ousted me as captain. I always play for my country. I didn’t worry about those personal things, but I was hurt.”
It is unfortunate that Dilshan’s captaincy tenure was not fruitful and though he remained a vital cog in the side, he revealed that he was “hurt”. The young players that Dilshan backed during his tenure, went on to be the rising stars of Lankan cricket and the veteran, who made his international debut back in 1999, draws solace from the fact.
Dilshan’s run in South Africa was a testament of his ability to remain calm and composed under any kind of circumstances. He is a big match player and had couple of more years left in him. Sri Lanka have now rebuild their team after the retirement of some big names in the recent times but Dilshan’s absence will certainly hurt them.