As revealed by Ceylon Today earlier, Boyagoda who scored a half century against Australia in the warm-up game was dropped after he failed against Ireland, after which Gunathilaka was given the opportunity to play the next two matches against Afghanistan and Pakistan, both of which Sri Lanka lost. Given another opportunity in the Plate Championship, Boyagoda replied with his bat by scoring two centuries - 191 against Kenya and 119 against defending World Cup U-19 champions West Indies.
"Hasitha Boyagoda failed in the first match that's why we dropped him. There was bounce and grass in the wickets of the second and third matches. Due to that we wanted to use an extra paceman and that's why we dropped Boyagoda," said National Selection Committee Chairman Graeme Labrooy, even though it may be the first time a regular opener was dropped in an international team to play an extra paceman.
"Before the game Kalana suffered an injury. It is because of that we had to bring back Santhush as a quick bowler. There were seven batsmen and out of them Santhush was the only one who bowled. That is why we kept one batsman out."
"Santhush played as a bowler. Opener Dhananjaya Lakshan and Santhush were the bowlers. There is a big difference between them. Santhush is one foot taller than Lakshan. Santhush can get steep bounce and in the eight overs be bowled he gave away only 40 runs. He bowled better than the two main bowlers. Kalana Perera after being injured was forced to return home. If not for that Kalana would have played."
When asked about allegations regarding Under-19 officials, especially regarding selections based on favouritism, in the World Cup as well as Asia Cup, SLC CEO Ashley de Silva simply denied those based on the report filed by the very same Manager Mahinda Halangoda, who was in the centre of controversy regarding miscalculation in the Asia Cup.
"We received the manager's report and there's nothing like that in the report. Only the best team had played."
In the Asia Cup the manager cum coach had decided to rest several key players (including two regular pacemen and regular wicket keeper) in the important third game assuming Sri Lanka had already qualified for the semi-finals, and ultimately resulted in SL losing and subsequently being knocked out from the group stage. Afghanistan, whom Sri Lanka beat in the group stage, went on to win the Asia Cup.
(By Karuppiah Ramakrishnan - ceylontoday.lk)