Sri Lanka cricketers leave for England : Tour will identify the future players – coach Ford | Daily News

Sri Lanka cricketers leave for England : Tour will identify the future players – coach Ford

Sri Lanka cricket captain Angelo Mathews (centre) shares a joke with his Test openers Kaushal Silva and Dimuth Karunaratne at SLC headquarters before the team’s departure to England yesterday. (Pictures by Thushara Fernando)

 

 Head coach Graham Ford believes that the young group of players picked for the Test tour of England has got a great opportunity to display their skills and temperament and cement their places in the national team for the future.

“It’s a great time for a young player to show what he can do. There are opportunities available at the moment and our selectors are watching closely at players who are staying behind as well,” said Ford prior to the Sri Lanka cricket team’s departure to England for the first leg of the tour which comprises a series of three Tests.

Sri Lanka will also take on England in a five-match ODI series and in two T20Is.

“We will identify the group of players who have the mental strength, toughness and the necessary talent to become top international players. It’s quite exciting to see how the young lads step upto the plate and be ready for international cricket and whether they want to be international cricketers for a long period of time,” said Ford.

“They have to overcome mental strength, different things going on creates extra pressure. We know that England will come hard at us so mental strength is going to be important. It’s an opportunity for our cricketers to show that they are tough. Thinking of the days gone by that was something everybody admired of Sri Lanka cricket when the players were so tough mentally. Maybe there are a few question marks now about that. It’s time for us to start getting that right,” he said.


Sri Lanka cricket team head coach Graham Ford addresses the media at SLC headquarters yesterday.

 

Having spent several seasons with Kent as their director of cricket and then with Surrey as their head coach, Ford is very much aware of the challenges the English weather can throw at any touring side.

“Any team going to England in early summer finds it hard especially come from the subcontinent it’s more than adjustment and as a team in transition some extra challenges face us,” Ford said.

“It has been an interesting few months of what you’ve got available and what you selected. We’ve got an evolving group that has now grown into a pretty useful attack to have all the experience and success in English conditions. I am quietly confident that as a group together they can create great pressure in English conditions. It’s going to be extremely important that they work together as a unit and support each other and cause some problems for the English batsmen,” he said.

“I don’t want to think too far ahead. We need to make an impact from day one I am not looking at the finishing line at this stage. You have to do a lot of hard work to get there and we have to be absolutely ready and hit the road running on that first Test.

“As far as our batting group is concerned having lost a couple of senior players some young guys have come in. They worked extremely hard at the nets and we have been fortunate enough to get some practice on wickets which we are likely to get in England and it was extremely pleasing how the players adjusted to the conditions.

“It’s going to be a huge mental challenge for them like running up big hundreds and a lot of that comes from having the experience. It’s going to be a challenge for the batting group and from what they have shown us they are certainly up for it.”

Ford was pleased that the fast bowling unit from what it was when he left in 2014 to what it is now has shown vast improvement.

“At that time they were feeling low. They have improved because they have played quite a lot of Test cricket since then. They are a lot more streetwise and having said that some of them had great success in England. I am really hopeful they can make a big impact,” said Ford. “It’s going to be crucial that they find the right length on the particular surface when we get into the Test matches. They are assessing very quickly and are now much more mature as cricketers and ready for that sort of approach.” Sri Lanka open their tour of England on Sunday with a three-day game against Essex at Chelmsford before moving to Leicester for another three-day practice match against Leicestershire starting on May 13 before taking on England in the Test series.


 

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