Cricket’s top brass meet after shock defeat


Sri Lanka Cricket’s top brass including President Thilanga Sumathipala, Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya, captain Rangana Herath, Coach Graham Ford and Cricket Manager Asanka Gurusinha will meet today to do a postmortem after the national cricket team’s shocking defeat in the second Test against Bangladesh at P. Sara Oval on Sunday.

Fears of Bangladesh turning the tables on Sri Lankans have been there for sometime given the excellent work Chandika Hathurusinghe had done with them.

But the Sri Lankans had things under control until the bizarre happenings of day four.

Captain Herath categorically denied claims that his side was cocky leading into the fateful fourth day’s play, but their attitude, where the batsmen from number six onwards were told to turn up at the ground only 30 minutes prior to start of play points at complacency.

The fact that the Sri Lankans were still behind by 75 runs should not have let them take the foot off the peddle. The team behaved as if they were ahead by 300 runs.

Not only are these players representing their country, but they are paid handsomely as well. Each player takes home a cool US$ 7500 (over Rs. 1.1 million) per Test match and that demands them to show professionalism rather than behaving like a bunch school kids asking for more rest in between a Test match.

Fielding woes have been part of the Sri Lankan team for well over four years now. It’s not a secret that Sri Lanka and Pakistan are the worst fielding units in the world. Drop catches cost the team dearly in the four wicket defeat.

"I don’t think we are one of the worst fielding sides. We dropped a few catches which is bad. Fielding will be one area we will focus a lot with coach Graham Ford," Gurusinha told at the post match media briefing.

Gurusinha, a man with a no-nonsense approach, was asked whether he would endorse a fining system for dropped catches.

"I don’t think a fining system is going to help. Working on little things is important. I am observing what we are doing well and what we are not doing well. It’s not the amount of time you do It’s the quality of training you do. We need to improve the intensity and not the time," Gurusinha added.

It is our firm belief that the national cricket team spends more time playing football during training while the time they allocate for fielding is much insignificant. Desperate times call for desperate measures and Gurusinha will earn much admiration if he puts an end to this nonsense of playing football during training.

The commitment our players show for playing football is such that an outsider would think that Jose Mourinho had arrived at the cricket ground on a recruitment job for Manchester United.

This team has little planning and that’s where Hathurusinghe scores big.

Sri Lanka’s fielding coach is Nic Pothas. During all five days of the Test match, not a single day anyone took the trouble to get the South African to do fielding drills.

Sumathipala needs to ask the team whether there was any plan ahead of the catastrophic day four on how to go about things during Sri Lanka’s second innings. The Sri Lankans had been warned of the ‘ides of March’ but they had failed to take note.

There’s something Sumathipala himself can do. That is to stop being arrogant and reintroduce the Provincial Cricket Tournament. The highly competitive tournament comprising just four teams raised the standards immensely when it was functioning. The SLC President is not keen to do anything that will upset his vote base, which is clubs. He knows that there’s no National List where cricket elections are concerned. He keeps bragging about Sri Lanka having won a World Cup playing the club tournament. The other side of the coin is that we lost to Bangladesh playing the same club tournament..

The attitude of the players need to change as well. Herath virtually was in tears soon after the defeat. However, some of the younger players didn’t take the loss too seriously.

Niroshan Dickwella during the second Test proved that Test cricket is not his cup of tea. In the first innings he was dismissed playing a reverse sweep. In the second innings, he perished playing a paddle sweep too early.

After the game, he attended the post match presentation and walked back towards the dressing room waving his hand at some of his admirers as if he had done the brightest thing in batting.

Chandika Hathurusinghe must be the happiest man on earth. In 2010, he was chased away from Sri Lanka Cricket by D.S. de Silva and Nishantha Ranatunga on flimsy grounds. Seven years later, he had his final say.

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