Here we are again, disappointed hurt and let down. As a nation we enjoyed a good cricketing time for 25 years from 1995 to 2015. We were proud, we were respected and we were competitive. Time to time we see the past glories surfacing but they are short lived and we go back to our sleep in utterly disappointed.
Before we talk about revival of cricket we should ask what are we really requesting, is it to win every match we play, he ll no, we are asking for a performance that justifies the talent we see and the talent that plays a proud brand of cricket of Sri Lanka that we hold in high standards.
If we dissect our cricket post the 2005 era and honestly look down on ourselves we can clearly see that our wining was done by few brilliant players who continously harnessed their talents to become the world best players. Since we are honest we all will agree that it is sheer luck and a talent of few players and not design that made us competitive.
We are always looking for one single answer, the magical silver bullet, we have changed coaches, we changed players and the committee and board, we did all of this at a record pace becoming an international joke. Its time we understand that we need a 360 degree action plan.
As a loyal cricketing fan, I wish to highlight the changes that we need to see in our cricket to bring back the glory days.
Change #1: The first change we need to make as cricket fans is ourselves. We are a bunch of optimistic and synical people. We love our cricket but we are quick to create memes and jokes of our players. Cricket is a mental game, we need to learn how to constructively crtisice and not abuse our players. We need to educate our media, social media players to also adhere to same standards and stand up to them if they abuse there position of influence.
Change #2: We should stop the idiocracy of highering our cricket board thorough a voting system of first class clubs. We can still maintain a democratic process but voting rights should be given to elite past players with futuristic vision and management ability. The current voting process is prone to manipulation and corruption.
Change# 3: This may sound as a broken record but we need to reduce our first class teams to 12 teams and strengthen our domestic structure. A good example of this is South Africa. The South Africans were able to come out of a multi year cricket ban and yet play competitive cricket in 1992. The remaining first class teams need to be moved to tier two and act as a platform to find talent spread through the country.
Change #4: We need to upgrade our school coaches and introduce a strict certification. Any one who visits school cricket would see that there are too many players playing crickets and it is not practical to coach players. We need to create trained selection professionals to catch talent when they are young and groom them.
Change 5#: We need to prepare variety of pitches that mimic international conditions in other countries, this includes building pitched similar to England, Australia, South Africa and the Caribbean. This may mean bringing drop in pitches where our players can practice.
Change 6# : Sri lanka has repeatedly proven it can produce world class cricketing talent and the talent is spread across our country. We need to build a pipeline system to bring in talent from all 25 districts. Cricketing is still an expensivd game to play for many Sri Lankans and this bareer needs to be broken through government subsidies. We need to convert many of our soft ball playing cricketing talent to hardball at a better rate.
Change 7# : We need to introduce a 5 day test championships for the top 6 ranked first class clubs, a 50 over country World Cup to 12 first class clubs and t20 tournament for top 8 ranked clubs. These matches should be played in different conditions using options highlighted in point #5.
Change 8# : Looking into future it is clear that cricketing formats will become more professionals in upcoming years similar to other professional sports. We need to build a specialised test team who become test professionals, a one day team who are at the top in their game and a t20 specialist team as well. 60% of the players should stick to their dedicated formats and only 40% of out top players should rotate between formats. This will not only fuel player development but will help with player recovery and player management.
I promised an action plan and I will keep my promise, let me know what you think and we can continue this discussion.