‘Winning is also another aspect but we need to develop as well’ | Daily News


Under 19 coach Tillakaratne on Lanka’s 0-4 whitewash in Bangladesh

‘Winning is also another aspect but we need to develop as well’

Sri Lanka under 19 coach Hashan Tillakaratne
Sri Lanka under 19 coach Hashan Tillakaratne

Sri Lanka’s 0-4 defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in the recently concluded under 19 ODI series in normal circumstances would have raised eyebrows and caused much consternation among the cricketing fraternity especially with the Under 19 World Cup around the corner.

However Sri Lanka’s under 19 cricket coach Hashan Tillakaratne is quite unruffled about the result and sees no reason to panic.

“I am not really disappointed with the result. Winning is also another aspect but we are thinking of development also,” Tillakaratne told the Daily News.

“We tried out 24 guys in the two under 19 tests and the five under 19 ODIs just to give them an opportunity and see whether they can handle various pressure situations. That’s one reason. Right now we have a clear idea about the players before we pick the 15 for the under 19 World Cup in South Africa in January,” he said.

“Right now there are a few areas we need to improve. We couldn’t get wickets in the middle overs from 11 to 40, the other one is the first ten overs in batting where we normally get 70 runs but here we didn’t. They get about 30-40 runs and throw their wicket away. They need to score quickly and rotate the strike. Our fielding also was a little down. We didn’t field very well, we dropped a few catches in vital situations,” pointed out Tillakaratne.

“I wouldn’t say I am satisfied by their performances one hundred percent but to a certain extent yes. We found a good fast bowler from Richmond College Amshi de Silva. He bowled really well; he was quick and troubled the batsmen. My only worry is the middle overs 11-40 we couldn’t get the wickets. That is one of the grey areas we need to improve on. Rohan Sanjeeva was my main bowler but he didn’t perform upto expectations,” he said.

Bangladesh in fact dominated the under 19 ODI series making a clean sweep of the series (0-4) with only rain in the first match preventing them from making a 5-0 whitewash. The two-match under 19 test series was drawn nil-all with Sri Lanka putting on a plucky batting display in the second test.

“The Bangladesh boys were very mature. They get to play in the BPL and provincial cricket whereas our guys still have this schoolboy mentality,” said Tillakaratne. “The skill levels are the same but they are more mature having played higher cricket than our guys.”

Asked whether this would be a disadvantage for Sri Lanka during the under 19 World Cup where other nations will also field experienced sides, Tillakaratne said, “We are trying to bridge that gap. We have an under 23 tournament and we have an under 19 team playing in the Mercantile Premier division which is also a morale booster for the youngsters.

We are trying our level best to close the gap.”

The Sri Lanka under 19 team’s final assignment before the under 19 World Cup is to the Caribbean on November 29 where they will play an under 19 one-day tri-series with West Indies and England.

“Altogether we will have about 7 games if we come to the final,” said Tillakaratne. “We are playing in Antigua and normally they are good for batting. We have a format for the World Cup and we are working on that. We are looking at three genuine spinners, two all-rounders, three fast bowlers and seven specialist batsmen. In the eleven we are playing six genuine batsmen and five genuine bowlers, one of them a top all-rounder.” 

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