Lankan cricket on a rocky path | Daily News

Lankan cricket on a rocky path

Sri Lanka cricket is certainly down in the dumps not for the lack of talent but for lack of self-confidence in the individual players’ ability to go out and express themselves in the middle. The absence of that freedom of expression is having a detrimental overall effect in the team performances.

Currently the Sri Lanka senior team is competing in the cricket World Cup in England, the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side is touring India and taking on India ‘A’ in a two-test series and the Sri Lanka under 19 cricketers are locked in battle with their Pakistan under 19 counterparts in a five-match ODI series in Hambantota.

In all three separate series or tournament, Sri Lanka has been at the receiving end which is quite disturbing. The ‘A’ team and the Under 19 team are the country’s future and if they are unable to compete at that level there is certainly something wrong somewhere. Either Sri Lanka has fallen way behind other countries in uplifting the team standards or they have not got the proper people in the proper positions to bring about that change to the national team at all levels.

The ‘A’ team has lost the two-match unofficial test series to India ‘A’ 2-0 being outplayed in all departments and the under 19 cricketers after making a winning start to the series they have lost the next three matches to hand to Pakistan under 19 an unbeatable 3-1 lead with one match to play.

In the World Cup Sri Lanka are considered as no-hopers by the cricket pundits as they have shown hardly any improvement in the one-day game where they have slumped from eighth position in the ranking to ninth even below Afghanistan and, having lost their World Cup opener against New Zealand rather comprehensively by ten wickets don’t look like a side that will be able to eke out a single win in the nine-match first round.

The team seems to lack in confidence and the players don’t look like as if they are capable of winning a match for their country. The enthusiasm and the determination to go for the kill is certainly lacking when compared to the other competing nations. It seems like Sri Lanka are quite prepared to go through the motions of just being a part of the World Cup. If that is the case it is rather sad for a nation that has won the World Cup once and been twice runner-up.

What ails Sri Lanka cricket at present is that the country’s cricket administrators are unable to get the past players to come forward and contribute towards uplifting the game when it is most needed. Legendary cricketers like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Muthiah Muralitharan to name a few are imparting their knowledge and coaching expertise to other nations when their own country is struggling to come out of a slump which to say the least is quite alarming.

It is not that these past cricketers have turned their back on the country – they will be the first to come forward gladly to lend a helping hand, but for the fact that those who administer cricket have been unable to get them on a common platform to come and contribute.

A good example is how Sri Lanka Cricket simply cold-shouldered a professional cricketing structure which these players had spent eight months of their valuable time putting together because they didn’t want to lose our cricketers going to Australia and to England to play league cricket and thereby losing experienced players who are needed in the domestic set up.

When such haughty attitudes are expressed against the country’s top class cricketers who have served the nation for over 20 years on the cricket field and brought honour and glory and placed the country on the international map, how can you expect them to come and serve the game with administrators whose sole ambition is to hold onto office come what may with not a care of how and where our cricket is heading.

There is no point in blaming the players for the decline in our cricket although they must also partly be held responsible. In the absence of a strong domestic structure which the past cricketers have been clamouring for and sadly which the administrators have turned a deaf ear to, the quality of the players coming through the present faulty system is far from what it was maybe a decade or so ago.

This is clearly indicated by the performances of our ‘A’ team and under 19 cricketers who are our future. Winning and losing is part of the game. But the manner in which they are losing matches to India and Pakistan paints a bleak outlook to our cricket future. This current trend has to be addressed immediately before cricket which is the only sport in the country where we have been able to hold our heads up high is consigned to the dustbin.

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