While assuring everybody that Mickey Arthur would accept no mediocrity from his players, Ashantha De Mel in a recent interview expressed frustration at Sri Lanka’s batting deficiencies on the recent Pakistan tour, and put it down to lack of mental strength.
We believe the truth is a little more complex than that. Developing mental strength requires long term conditioning. Players in Sri Lanka often struggle to transcend the gap which separates Test cricket from domestic cricket.
Narrowing the gap is the first step towards improvement, and must start with a lesser number of participating teams to ensure a vastly more intense domestic competition. Reared on docile, grassless, slow turners which double up as fast bowling graveyards, batsmen are under no compulsion to overly rely on technique in order to put bat to ball. Consequently, they are up against it when playing away Tests in conditions that are vastly different to home.