Temperament lacking in our batsmen – Former World Cup star Gurusinha | Daily News

Temperament lacking in our batsmen – Former World Cup star Gurusinha

Thursday: Asanka Gurusinha, the former Sri Lanka batsman who played a pivotal role as a solid number 3 for many years and helped the country win the 1996 cricket World Cup is of the view that the present crop of batsmen lack the temperament to play long Test innings.

Gurusinha a master of denting some of the best bowling attacks in the world paved the way with his batting for strokemakers like Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga to dominate the bowling.

What’s happening today is that the top order by not batting for a length of time and pushing the bowlers to come for their third and fourth spells are exposing the middle order too early when the bowlers are still fresh which has resulted in Sri Lanka’s rather abysmal displays.

“The biggest issue we are having is that we are not batting three or four sessions. That’s where we are struggling. We have always had fantastic batting line ups. Not too long ago, we had guys like Mahela, Sanga and Thilan batting so well for us,” said Gurusinha presently the team’s cricket manager and a national selector.

“When you are getting 150s you are going to bat for four sessions. The biggest thing right now is that we don’t have batsmen at the moment who have batted for four sessions in the last 18 months other than I would say Chandi (Chandimal) and Dimuth (Karunaratne). If you are going to get 400 runs in an innings, you need at least one guy to bat long. That was one reason why we won against Pakistan as we scored 400 plus and batted for more than 150 overs.

“Dimuth and Chandi haven’t clicked. Chandi showed lot in the last Test. He showed there weren’t any demons. Dimuth was perhaps unlucky in the second innings. He knows that we have great expectations of him. The rest of the batsmen have not done that. We can’t expect Chandi and Dimuth to everyday score runs. As batsmen you are going to fail. That is the time we need the rest of the batters to rise to the occasion,” he said.

Gurusinha said that three or four years ago the batting was good and one had to observe the cricket the present day cricketers’ play and how they handle tough situations.

“It is the temperament that is lacking. We might concede two maidens and then hit some big shots. Our head coach Nic Pothas did some analyzing, in the last innings, 65 percent of our runs were scored in boundaries. Whereas India scored in excess of 600 and only 35 percent of those runs were in boundaries. It shows that we are so aggressive and search for boundaries and lack temperament and patience required to building an innings,” Gurusinha pointed out.

“That is what the other sides are doing. I don’t want to bring India as an example because they are so good, but if you take Steve Smith, he won that game for Australia and he batted for over 400 minutes. That changed the game for Australia. You have to get these guys up and running. We have to seriously take a look at the cricket we play at all levels from provincial to club cricket and get players to start batting and scoring those big hundreds. I am very pleased to see Kaushal Silva getting 140, I know it was a two-day game, but I think he batted for three sessions. If we can get six to eight batsmen doing that, Sri Lanka cricket will benefit,” he said.

TOO MUCH T20 CRICKET

When it was pointed out that in the eighties and nineties domestic cricket was one and half days duration and Sri Lanka still produced top class batsmen, Gurusinha said, “The reason is that today they are playing so much of T20 cricket. Young guys who are coming into the Test squad are playing too much T20 cricket. Even schools are playing T20 tournaments. They are focusing on that. When you come to a two-day game or three-day game they keep playing all these shots, but Test cricket is Test cricket. The name says it all. It tests your mental toughness and your skill. That’s what we are lacking at the moment.”

How is it that India benefits playing all those T20 IPL tournaments?

“I was talking to a couple of people in the Indian coaching staff and it is their Ranji trophy which is quite strong. You take the Ranji Trophy there are big scores in every game. Even though they play IPL, all the players need to go back to Ranji Trophy and perform,” said Gurusinha. “Everyone is talking about Bumrah as a T20 bowler, he is playing Ranji Trophy and is amongst the wickets. I think India has told him that they are interested in him playing Test cricket, but you’ve got to go back and prove it to us. What IPL has done is to give so much talent and they are harnessing it in so many areas, one-days and Tests and building on that. I would love to have that kind of a situation where we have to drop or rest a player and the replacement is someone who averages 50 in Tests.”

COACHES GIVE PLAYERS PIECE OF THEIR MIND

Gurusinha said that he hoped in the next six months or so the proposals Sri Lanka Cricket has put in place will change things. “You are not going to get results overnight. Short term you have to look at club cricket and work these things out. However it is up to the players as well what they want to achieve. The coaching staff sitting on the side they are killing themselves. They are doing everything. The only thing they can’t do is to get to the middle and do it. The game has to be handled by the individual.”

Suffering the heaviest Test defeat Gurusinha said was “very tough and painful” and added, “Nic Pothas was absolutely right, we couldn’t see any fight in the second innings or in the first innings. You have to give everything you have. That is the way we play for. I would give my life for my country. That was lacking in some players.

“Pothas and Thilan Samaraweera had a very stern chat with the players. Their thoughts on how they played. First innings we lost six wickets to straight balls. Second innings it was poor batting. Some of the shots were so bad. Then you saw Suranga Lakmal batting as if nothing was happening there. We need our top six firing. What I said before coming here is that if our batting clicks we are fine, but if our batting fails, then we are in for trouble.”


 

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