When the second string New Zealand team took on the much expected Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka cricket was stripped and severely exposed. One thing that worth mention is the fact that the administrators of Sri Lanka Cricket have been hiding behind the success, the players bring to the team. The Sri Lankan fans too are immensely tolerant and forbearing, that they forget the harum-scarum activities of the admins in the intoxication the victory brings us. The truth is exposed only when we lose, but that too doesn’t lasts longer since we have got a eleven that knows to swim against the tide.
The abominable defeat against the below par New Zealand showed what professionalism do to a side who knows nothing about it. Although on the paper Sri Lanka had everything to take on any sides, the problem that haunts them in test cricket exposed Sri Lanka severely against the Kiwis.
Of course Mathews was generous enough to blame the bowlers and his strategic mistakes, as fans we need to be intelligent enough to look deep into the problem and come out with a feasible solution.
I will do an appraisal on the followings:
- Selection Policies
- Sri Lanka’s international calendar
- Inept administration
Sri Lanka Cricket’s selection policies have been similar to what Dilhara Fernando offered to Sri Lanka cricket. They have either been the best or the worst. Since, this post highlights the blunders, I will focus on the worst.
Sanath Jayasuriya and team has been focusing on building a nucleus of young cricketers around whom the other youngsters would be played. The choice of Chandimal and Thirirmanne to be the nucleus is laudable but the use of rare breed match winners like the three Perera’s have been disappointing.
Sri Lanka wanted immediate results from their recruited new openers. They tried with Kusal Perera. When he delivered, the selectors persisted. When he struggled they abandoned him and looked for Dimuth. When this man never even succeeded, they reverted to the old horse. The selectors inability to find a youngster who can open, and going back to Mahela is a great failure and something that should not be done by a selection committee that is looking to build a young team.
Thisera Perera’s case is even more perplexing. Perera is clearly the best youngster and the only match winner among the young breed. But right from the Celkon cup selectors made it a habit to drop him now and then. The reason put behind this is even more enigmatic. The all-rounder was axed in search of an opener, something only Sir Albert Einstein can comprehend.In tests too, the selectors never gave any fast bowlers a long run. All what they wanted was an immediate impact. They seeded yesterday and are looking to yield the harvest today. When fast bowlers like Lakmal settled down into their roles and showed some promise either the selectors dropped them or they injured themselves.
Perera is the second leading wicket taker for Sri Lanka after Malinga from 2010. His average is close to that of Malinga and his strike rate is better than that of him.
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/49758.html”>SL Malinga||2010-2013||91||87||716.2||40||3685||146||6/38||25.23||5.14||29.4||2||5|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/233514.html”>NLTC Perera||2010-2013||62||58||386.5||17||2095||82||6/44||25.54||5.41||28.3||2||3|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/49535.html”>KMDN Kulasekara||2010-2013||79||77||615.1||46||2895||80||5/22||36.18||4.70||46.1||2||1|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/49764.html”>AD Mathews||2010-2013||90||69||406.4||24||1819||50||4/29||36.38||4.47||48.8||1||0|
Though largely inconsistent with the bat he has provided innings of substance, that often won matches for Sri Lanka. Even after his 34 off one over it required an iron heart from the selectors to drop him for the first two matches against New Zealnad.
Sri Lanka’s international calendar
Tough to digest the fact that Sri Lanka has played the least number of tests this year, but given the reckless behavior of our admins this is not surprising.
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/team/5.html”>New Zealand||9||0||4||0||5||0.00||4074||28.29||3.05||16||469||45|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/team/3.html”>South Africa||7||6||1||0||0||6.00||3315||39.00||3.36||10||525||232|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/team/8.html”>Sri Lanka||3||1||1||0||1||1.00||1983||48.36||3.67||6||570||278|
|a href=”http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/team/4.html”>West Indies||4||2||2||0||0||1.00||1471||24.93||3.33||7||381||168|
Something that worth mention is that even Bangladesh and Zimbabwe has twice the amount of matches Sri Lanka has played. Sri Lanka this year chopped down two test series for the sake of a triangular tournament and for SLPL that never transpired.
Sri lankans are still made to wonder about the scheduling of the series against the kiwis during the wettest period of the year, a mistake that they have never learnt from, since this is not the first time that this occurs. Sri Lanka cricket seems to be in a position from where they can convince no team to tour the island unless they are weaker than Sri Lanka cricket.
Another blunder that haunts cricket in Sri Lanka is the admins’ rash choice of grounds for matches. Amidst the lack of quorum for a cricket match in Sri Lanka, administrators continue to persist with Hambantota, even abandoning Dambulla that usually receives a full house for matches. The reason is not something as eerie as the aforementioneds, and is bare from the name of the stadium.
It is quite evident that the selectors do not do enough to promote the games in Sri Lanka. Dambulla, Colombo, Pallekele, Hambantota and even the Galle Interntional stadium can be utilized to host ODIs and the rotation of stadiums for matches can definitely attract crowd. What the present hierarchy does is over killing cricket in Colombo. How do you attract 30,000 to 40,000 crowd when back to back matches are played in one stadium in the space of three days? Instead Sri Lanka cricket can spread the fixtures and assign one game for each stadium. Possibly, in a 5 match series, one can be played in Colombo, Kandy, Hambantota, Dambulla and Galle. A game in Colombo once in three months would mean it is likely to attract cricket starved fans in to the stadium.
What Sri Lanka lacks today is not talent but efficient leaders who can take the cricket in Sri Lanka forward. The blunders made by the admins is badly reflected on our players, who in turn are made scapegoats for the salvation of the Sri Lankan cricket. The only good thing for Sri Lanka for the time being is, the fact that we have dedicated blokes who dissemble their pains gracefully and play their heart out for the 21 million fans for their unconditional love for them.