By Trevor Chesterfield in Dambulla | June 17, 2010
Chief selector Aravinda de Silva talks to reporters. ©AFP/Lakruwan WANNIARACHCHI.
It has not taken Aravinda de Silva long to answer criticism of the performances of several players in the opening game of the 10th edition of the Asia Cup.
In doing so, however, he has shown the path the new selection panel will follow and that is one of welcome transparency as he supported the team that beat Pakistan by 16 runs in the opening game of the series on Tuesday.
Apart from being a welcome change from the sullen silence often adopted by the Asantha de Mel selection coterie, the members of whom often relied on coaches for information, it shows that De Silva is prepared to carry out his promise of openness with the media.
“We are preparing for a World Cup and we want the people to know what we are doing and why,” he said at Rangiri Stadium on Thursday.
This came after certain selectors have been accused of failing to act responsibly when it came to important issues, leaving De Mel to face the wrath of an indignant media and public. Two coaches from top clubs in Colombo, who asked to remain anonymous, for all too obvious reasons, one is fearing reprisals, said how three of the selectors rarely attended club and provincial games and at one stage during the provincial 20/20 tournament, had no idea who the leading batsman was.
“These selectors have at least made it known they are serious about their role, more so than some of the previous members,” said one coach. “I was often called an hour or so before a meeting and asked opinions of certain players."
De Silva, attending the team’s practice session during rest day at Rangiri Stadium, suggested that the pitch for Friday’s game against Bangladesh will carry a touch more grass and likely to help the defending champions in the third game of the tournament.
He also remarked how the form of players for this tournament cannot be judge on one or two games but the tournament as a whole. The comments were aimed at showing support for Chamara Kapugedara, Farveez Maharoof and Muttiah Muralitharan, who did not have memorable games against Pakistan in the opening match of the 10-day tournament.
“I have asked the curator to prepare a pitch that will help both seam and spin bowlers and for this reason I have suggested he leave a little more grass on the surface,” he said.
“I can also tell you not to dismiss players who did not have a good first game, or failed to perform as hoped,” he added. “We need to give these players a chance and be guided by their form at the end of the series.
“We consider these players as part of the team and patience is needed in respect of their form and ability to perform. There are times players can have good games and also times when they will be disappointed as well,” he smiled.
It was for this reason that Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lanka captain hinted there is unlikely to be any changes in the side to play Bangladesh on Friday in the third game of the tournament.
He also saw the toss as being a crucial factor with the lights being one of the reasons as well as the dew. Criticism of how the lights do not measure up to international has come from television and other media sources as well as match officials.
It was Sangakkara’s opinion while the toss played a large part in the result of the game, but also it was a matter of consistency.
“Our players know this all too well and how important it is to work as a team . . . as a unit, especially with what lies ahead, how they need to be consistent as part of the strategy,” Sangakkara said.
©: Copyright 2010. Trevor Chesterfield.
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