Disharmony in the Sri Lankan cricket team?
By Gavin Van Hoff | January 15, 2011
Coach Geoff Marsh jogs with the team during a practice session. © AFP/File.
An interview with Sri Lanka’s most successful batsman in the Test series in South Africa has revealed that talk of disharmony within the team and coaches not fulfilling their roles is bunkum.
Samaraweera told the Sri Lankan newspaper The Nation of the help he received from the coaching staff on tour and how the advice helped him score two centuries against the Proteas.
The 35-year-old right-hander finished the Test series as the second highest run scorer (339 runs), only next to South African AB de Villiers (353 runs). He was the only batsman to score two centuries in the series.
“When I arrived in South Africa, the Sri Lanka dressing room atmosphere was fantastic,” Samaraweera said. “Coach Geoff Marsh, the team management and the players said that I deserved to stay in the dressing room. That kind of welcome helped me a lot and cleared my mind.”
After axing him from the Test side and initially leaving him out of the squad for the tour of South Africa, the selectors had a change of heart and recalled the prolific run-maker back to the Sri Lankan Test side.
“On one of those days, where play was washed out by rain, [Marsh] told me that Jesse Ryder had got 175 against Australia A in a side game but he didn’t get many runs in the Test matches,” Samaraweera said. “He said, when you go to the Test match and if you hit a four that’s the confidence you will get. He knew that I had a doubt in my mind because of the lack of cricket.”
A discussion with batting coach Marvan Atapattu, which Samaraweera said helped him adjust to the conditions in South Africa, led to a change in his technique.
“I spoke to [Atapattu] and I made a slight change to my batting. My initial movement was going across the stumps but I changed it to going back to give me more time to see the ball and any late movement.
“I practiced that adjustment at high intensity in the nets. Luckily, my footwork was fine. I do a lot of skipping and after the Australian series I wanted to prove myself again and worked hard at my game. I think I have another two-and-a-half years of cricket ahead of me.”
© Island Cricket