Is Sri Lankan cricket in trouble?
My thoughts couldn't have come at a better time than this I suppose, considering the fact that we have just been thrashed three-nil by the Aussies in Australia. It's about time we stop bragging about how many ICC tournament finals we have been to, as the most important thing is winning them, which we sadly have not done.
Leaving the shorter version and its problems a side, we seem to be having a bigger one to solve — our performances in the Test arena. We have played 10 Test series since November 2009, out of which we have just won one (the series against Pakistan in June, 2012). Something is amiss, and it starts with the administration.
We never seem to pick the right team, we are constantly embroiled in player pay disputes and cricket board losses keep making the headlines. How do we get out of this rut. Its easier said than done. It has got to be done. We might as well start now before we have nothing left in our cricket, and that would take our brand value to the rock bottom.
Its appalling that we still struggle to organise more than a two-Test series with top-ranked teams. When do we ever play a five-Test series? With the way we are playing now, we might be back to the one off-Test tours before long. I was one who hated to accept that the shorter forms of the games are killing Test cricket, but at least with Sri Lanka and India to an extent this is happening.
We need to start being accountable and take responsibility both on and off the field. It doesn't look like we are doing either one right. Sri Lanka Cricket needs a change. There was a time when our rugby was in shambles until SLC's current vice-president Asanga Seneviratne took over the reigns. It was a complete turn around. A similar turn around is required in our cricket.
When i mean held accountable and responsible i literally mean it. The entire selection team should quit because frankly i dont think they are doing their jobs to the best they can. We cant produce two decent fast bowlers who can get on the field to play in a test match. Sad but true. Champaka Ramanayake is our bowling coach. his a great guy but has he delivered what we expect of him. Frankly i dont think so he should be removed, how long can we go on cause he is the one who found us Lasith Malinga. We need to stop being soft we need to take hard decisions. We lost two of the best support staff we have had in decades in Chandika Hathrusinghe (Now head coach of NSW) and Alex Kantourie (Physio of Cricket Australia). Players were rarely injured during the time Kantourie was in charge now injuries are more common than the number of matches we win.
Administration has been a talking point for years. We need to get ourselves a Team of administrators who should ideally have some ex players who know the game. We need to get good set of experts in finance who can re structure the debt and get this once rich sports body out of the red. We seem to be getting into deeper losses every new administration that comes into office. Selectors should be employed, paid and then held accountable and responsible for the teams they send out . True its hard cant be responsible for what the team does out there, but for starters pick the right team who should be there so you can be accountable for what they do.
Getting back to the cricket, We probably were facing the weakest Australian Team that has been pitted against in Australia for a long time. Our Allround Cricket has been poor. We are unable to field 11 test players who can get on the field play competitive test cricket. Our Pace bowling department is down to zero. I would like to wonder what our bowling coach has to say to players like Eranga and Pradeep. How hard can it be to get them to bowl consistently in the right spots. Its a department we need to address fast before we are left with nothing.
I will not touch on our performance as people who watched the cricket will know how bad we played. Its nice to see youngsters Lahiru Thirimanne and Dimuth Karunaratne in this side. They are young & vibrant and it shows when they are on the field how badly they want to be there.Same cannot be said about the seniors. Thilan and Dilshan have already spoken to media about quitting. Thilan has said the series against Bangladesh will be his last. Why ? doesn't seem like he has the passion anymore, why want to play one more series other than to add a few more milestones on flattracks. His shot in the 2nd innings of the 3rd Test clearly shows his got to go. Here is a man probably playing his last test innings outside of Sri Lanka and comes and throws his wicket away. He has not had much cricket nor has the other test specialists too. Welagedera last played in March 2012. We play most of our domestic cricket when our national team is on duty so the only cricket our test specialists play are mostly for the country.
Its nice to see foreign voices speak volumes of our young guns. Ian Healy who didnt have much to say about Wade had a lot to say about Dinesh Chandimal. He was impressed with his technique, glove positioning and footwork. The trio commentating at that time Mark Nicholas, Billa Lawry and Ian Healy are amazed as to why a player of his ability is not in the side. So its about time we play them and move on from some of the older breed that our making us go a step back.
Angelo Mathews the captain in waiting has a huge responsibility to take being captain of three forms if he is appointed that is. He needs to up his game. Something tells me that too has taken his place for granted this could lead to his downfall. True his a player with a lot of talent its time to show the world what he is made of.
Sri Lanka will do good to blood youngsters in all the tests this year against the minnows. Probably a good time for our three big guns to make some money playing the T20 leagues and the ODI format if they want to be part of the 2015 World Cup as they say. ts going to be a while till we build a test team capable of competing overseas. Might as well start now with the changes so we at least realise the dream 3 years down the line.