Dilshan - from liability to lynchpin

Updated: 20 June 2009 10:53 IST

Tillakaratne Dilshan is the batting Hercules of the World Twenty20 which is staggering for a man who was a liability in the Lankan side not too long ago.

Dilshan - from liability to lynchpin

London:

Tillakaratne Dilshan is the batting Hercules of the World Twenty20 which is staggering for a man who was a liability in the Sri Lankan side not too long ago.

Dilshan sits on the top with the biggest score and the highest tally of runs in the tournament 96 and 317 runs and his 46 fours are also the most by any batsman. He has three half centuries in the tournament besides missing two 50s narrowly.

His scores in the tournament, just to recap, tell it's own story - 53, 74, 46, 0, 48 and 96 runs. Boyd Rankin of Ireland, who got him out for naught at Lord's last week, can now forget the other details in his CV but for this notable entry!

Dilshan lost his place in the Tests and one-day squad, was fiddled around in the batting order, and was all but finished when he scored 162 and 143 in the two innings of the Chittagong Test against Bangladesh early this year. A lot of other things happened in succession thereafter for the man to come on to his own.

His heroics against Bangladesh led to his promotion as an opener in the side albeit in shorter format of the game. Indeed, he volunteered for the job since Upul Tharanga was struggling and his captain paid heed to the request.

Dilshan then captained Sri Lanka in the one-off Twenty20 match in Colombo which further boosted his appetite for the game.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) only kept the graph upwards. Dilshan struck 418 runs from 14 matches and his average of 41.80 wasn't the one to be trifled with. He, along with AB de Villiers, made Delhi Daredevils take the off-form of Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag in stride.

Much as Dilshan has been impressive with the weight of his runs, it's his style in this WT20 which has captivated the imagination of cricket fans and experts all over the world.

He is now seen as the inventor of a stroke "Dilscoop" which is going down on one knee and scooping the ball over his head in area behind the wicketkeeper.

Batsmen are known to scoop it over short fine leg but this takes daredevilry to a new level. It doesn't matter if the bowler is as express in pace as Mohammed Aamer of Pakistan. It's a clever stroke too for teams don't keep a "long stop" behind wicketkeeper and the area is vacant.

Again, Dilshan passes off the credit to IPL. "The first time I played it was two months ago in the IPL in South Africa. I have confidence now and I trust myself that I can play the shot," he has said.

"I could play a paddle shot against a yorker and so if the ball is a good length delivery I am confident that I can connect it over the wicketkeeper. It's a stroke which has dumbfounded even Sanath Jayasuriya and that's saying something.

Jayasuriya remarked: "It is Dilshan special and he does it so well. Most of his shots are unbelievable and that has eased a lot of pressure on me".

Topics : Cricket
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