Sri Lankan cricket talent pipeline and mentoring

Kusal Mendis’s serene and swashbuckling mammoth 176 that stood out between the two teams when the ICC is discussing about a two tier test system, he seemed to be playing in an entirely different tier unmatched by either side batters to Sandakan’s debut 7 wickets a rear breed unearthed by the Sri Lankan selectors to play against the awarded No.1 Test Nation and to get that much of  spin, have that control and guile to create havoc in that Australian order and bamboozle the Aussies was something even the World’s highest wicket taker had spoken of in glowing terms and was impressed, and the cameos played by Dhananjaya De Silva though yet to contribute in a substantial way to the Sri Lankan score card, the class, the boy shows makes one wonder where has this player all this while been, execution of  certain shots bear ample testimony what the youngster poses and is quite evident and it would pay dividends in the long run that Sri Lanka has a healthy amount of talent evident by the fact of these recent performances and results shown by these boys. Sri Lanka U-19 Lahiru Kumar’s  match haul of 11 wickets to trounce the England U-19 in there own backyard after 6 years was something special. Last time they were also beaten by a Lankan team and that English side at that time comprised players with the likes of the talented Joe Root and Jake Bell.

The win at Pallekele achieved by the National cricket team had trickled down to the junior teams as well  with wins in South Africa by the emerging side to clinch their first win in the tri-series played in the rainbow nation.

Well having all this talent is all good in the present time, but nourishing, nurturing, mentoring these boys is quintessential in today’s context with bitter experiences with the likes of Ajantha Mendis whose cricket seem to be going no where as per Sri Lanka’s legendary spinner who was recently inducted to the ICC hall of fame and with the A team coach echoing his frustration over his most talented and experienced player none other than Thisara Perera who seems to be missing the National bus consistently according to inside sources due to attitude and commitment. Both the mention and specially the latter haven’t at all been mentored properly or guided and when one looks at Mitchell Marsh a player thrown out of the Australian high performance academy for drunk behaviour and with various intricacies was a star in recent times in the Caribbean and warrants a place in the Australian National side ahead of his talented elder brother purely on the merit of his recent results he has shown and the performances he has been putting in.  So what’s the difference between  our very own talented all rounder and the latter, well it all comes down to mentoring which ideally should come from an all rounder who played his cricket in yesteryear and don the Sri Lankan jersey with flying colors.   Well we have a former all rounder more known for his exploits with the bat who used to send bowlers on a leather hunt it is none other than Sanath Jayasuriya the present Chairman of selectors an all rounder who isn’t internationally acclaimed in terms of an international all rounder specially in the limited overs format for one’s likening but boasts of a record much more versatile than Jacques Kallis.

It might surprise most but some one like Jayasuriya’s inspiration wouldn’t go in vain on Thisara’s ears and Jayasuriya’s  wisdom in cricketing terms should keep Thisara in good stead.

Lalindra De Silva is an occasional contributor on various topics from sports to stock markets, who has played the sport and toured India representing club’s. And is a full time retail investor with the CSE.

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