Monday, November 16, 2009

"Mendis is beginning to be read"

Bayliss, who took over as the Lankan coach from fellow Aussie Tom Moody said mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis is beginning to be read by batsmen the world over.

“It happens with all international players. It is up to the player to keep learning and improving.

One thing that I can say about Mendis is that he is a very hard working cricketer and is a quick learner.

It happens to all young batsmen and bowlers and Mendis will take every opportunity to make sure he learns and has a long international career.”

Mendis, who took the cricketing world by storm in his first year in international cricket in 2008 was dropped from the first Test against India in Ahmedabad.

Left arm spinner Rangana Herath was instead picked to partner off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan on the Motera track.

Explosive Indian opening batsman Virender Sehwag was the only batsman to thwart Mendis in the Test series in the Emerald Isles in 2008, when the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman struggled against the ‘carom ball.’

When asked Bayliss if he had advised Mendis to approach Sehwag differently in India, he quipped: “Even if I did, I wouldn’t like to share that. All I can say is that we have planned for all the Indian batsmen.

We have had discussions and have spoken of all the Indian batsmen. Let us see how it pans out at the end.”

It came as a surprise to many after Mendis did not feature in the team list on the first morning of the opening Test. However, skipper Kumar Sangakkara would have remembered how well India’s batsmen tackled the young spinner in the tri series at home earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Bayliss said he has asked his wards to focus on playing good cricket rather than talk too much of the opposition batsmen and bowlers.

“We do speak about opposition but not overtly concerned.”

Bayliss also made light of the absence of Sanath Jayasuriya and Lasith Malinga from the team: “We are not concentrating on who is not there. What we do have is a good team and bowlers who can take 20 wickets and that has been the key to winning Test matches.”

The former New South Wales player looks content with the arsenal at his disposal. A potent bowling attack and a dangerous batting unit will make for a riveting Test series with or without Mendis.

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