Dilshan Dilshan is the new Sri Lanka captain

Tillakaratne Dilshan has been named Sri Lankan captain for all three forms of the game, or so the press release in front of me says.

Curiously, though, the appointment is only for the forthcoming tour of England, and no vice-captain has been named. The press release states that the other prospective candidates are nursing injuries, although no matter how often I read it I still can’t work out if they mean that the vice-captaincy is vacant because Angelo Mathews is injured, or Dilshan is captain because Angelo Mathews is injured.

What they should have done is been honest and said that they were going to give the job to Angelo Mathews, only they realised that making someone who doesn’t actually exist your international captain is a bad idea, because England tried it with Chris Cowdrey back in 1988 and look where it got them.

All of which leaves Dilshan with three big problems. One is that he knows he is only captain because he can look in a mirror and see himself. Another is that, at 34, he’s older than the guy who stood down because he thought he was too old for the job. And the biggest is that, before he was Tillakaratne Dilshan and inventing the Dilscoop, he was Tuwan Mohamad Dilshan, a Muslim who didn’t get picked for Sri Lanka very often.

In an inspired move, he converted to Buddhism and took the name of the nation’s cricket captain, who was Hasan Tillakaratne, thereby (a) catching the selectors’ eye at last (b) committing the most shameless suck-up in cricket history and (c) knocking into a cocked helmet Mohammed Yousuf’s theory that converting to Islam is the best way to become an international success.

Now, of course, Dilshan has a big problem. Bearing the name of your favourite captain is fine if you are a humble peon. But once you are the captain, you have to back yourself. Because if you are not your own favourite captain, then you shouldn’t really be in the job.

In other words, Tillakaratne Dilshan is now going to have to change his name to Dilshan Dilshan. Which would sound silly if it were not for the fact that one of his team mates is Herath Herath.

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