Well ,well,well things aren’t going our way are they,As fan it’s painful to watch this team play.It used to be even when we lost ,the team fought hard there was a obvious plan and fans were able to digest a loss because we knew what was going on.
Last three years the team has been a joke and everyone in international cricket knows it. Now 20 odd games to go to the world cup in true lankan fashion we are scrambling to get a functioning team resembling international standards .
Who’s the Captain ?
I was surprised to see Matthews as captain ,didn’t he step down after the Zimbabwe series loss???.There are so many captains it’s hard to keep track. On any given series it could be Tharanga,Chandimal,Matthews ,Thisara perera or suranga lakmal.Since the captain dictates what happens on the field ,tactics and player selection it will be helpful to have a permanent person until the world cup ends.
Whoever that person is ,it is painfully obvious it cannot be Anjelo Matthews .For a man who played under mahela jayawardena and kumar sangakkara,and long been groomed to take over as captain. He has spectacularly failed .He hasn’t learn anything about leardership from the two former greats.Some people are born learders,others are great at faking leadership.Anjelo is neither .
Matthews biggest problem is his thinking is so in the box,you sometimes wonder watching his tactics if there’s a box within the box!. His bowling changes and fielding placement are so textbook and boring it allows the opposition batsmen easy runs.Matthews inability to think on his feet has cost SL lots of matches .
Other big problem is Matthews doesn’t inspire much confidence with his players, often it seems players are hesitant to go to him with ideas .looking at his body language it’s always negative hence the body language of everyone on the field is negative leading to comical errors. Also i think Matthews is just plainly unlucky .
So who’s the best captain ? At this stage it has to be chandimal.In tests he’s shown the ability to change tactics and adjust quickly to different situations .But the biggest thing going for chandimal is the team seems to respond to his kind of leardership.Everything seems positive and energetic .Under chandimal sometimes things can go overboard but no one can deny things keep happening under chandimal, compared to the lethargic negativity under matthews .And chandimal is just lucky although it’s hard to quantify.
What are our strengths?
Sri lanka needs to decide what discipline they are better at batting or bowling.It seems the think tank are trying to have it both ways. sometimes they blame the bowlers sometimes the batsmen .If you look at the resources we have, the batting talent clearly outweighs the bowling talent.
Therefore the pressure must be on the batting unit to consistently put up scores above 280.The team needs to stop making excuses for continuous batting failures . I firmly believe it’s the batting that’s at fault for our continuous losses,the bowling although not great consistently perform to their individual ability .
If you look at all the top teams batting is their strength ,every team has a stable top 3 capable of going at a strike rate above 90 and bat for 30 overs. If SL wants to start winning again it will be imperative they find a capable top 3.given the batting friendly conditions that will be at the world cup, without a large contribution from the top order SL have no chance of winning games .
Although the batting needs to step up,the bowling also needs to improve their skills.Especially the death bowling . SL bowlers inability to ball yorkers,slower ball bouncers etc and the lack of variety is concerning .You have to wonder what the bowling coaches are doing.
Mental Strength and Match Awareness
Considered this scenario from the 3rd ODI against SA.Dickwella vs Ngidi
Ngidi to Dickwella, FOUR runs, full outside off, and driven on the up past cover! First boundary of the innings as it races away to the fence
It’s a good shot.Dickwella gets a boundry.But the shot goes in the air at a catchable height .Then next ngidi over du plessis gets a short cover because he saw the opportunity for a wicket .The trap is set.
Ngidi to Dickwella, OUT, straight to short cover! Faf makes no mistake. Full on off, and the drive pops into the infielder's hands. A couple of feet on either side and that would've been a boundary
Dickwella sees the short cover, plays the same shot at the same height .Easy catch to short cover.He doesn't try to hit over the fielder ,neither does he try to keep it along the ground .WTF is going on in his head?
Sadly for Sri lanka situations like the above happen too frequently . some days multiple times within a game.I really hope the coaching staff are working on the mental side of the players .The current team makes the same mistakes over and over especially the batsmen and it’s not just young batsmen upul tharanga is also a serial offender.There is a serious lack of mental strength and cricketing IQ within the current group .If SL wants to become an elite team they need to be a lot tougher mentally .SL needs to get players that translate talk into performances on the field.Right now it’s all just talk and I for one is getting tired of the talk.
So those are my thoughts about areas SL need to improve upon. feel free to call me a complete idiot in the comments !.
Also my squad for future series.
D.Gunathilaka,D.De silva,Chandimal,K.Perera,Matthews,D.Shanaka,A.Gunarathne,T.Perera,A.Dananjaya,Shehan Madushanka,L.Malinga