Reporters jump the gun ahead of cricket World Cup | Sunday Observer

Reporters jump the gun ahead of cricket World Cup

No conning at a Press con :
 The many moods of professional sportsmen as well as administrators can also vary from situation to situation on the field as well as off it. Here Sri Lanka’s cricketers, officials and coach sport contrasting moods at a Press conference to mark the end of the South Africa-Sri Lanka home series. From left: Chandika Hathurusinghe (coach), Angelo Mathews (captain), Ashley de Silva (CEO), Suranga Lakmal (vice captain), Gamini Wickremasinghe (selector) and Charith Senanayake (manager)
The many moods of professional sportsmen as well as administrators can also vary from situation to situation on the field as well as off it. Here Sri Lanka’s cricketers, officials and coach sport contrasting moods at a Press conference to mark the end of the South Africa-Sri Lanka home series. From left: Chandika Hathurusinghe (coach), Angelo Mathews (captain), Ashley de Silva (CEO), Suranga Lakmal (vice captain), Gamini Wickremasinghe (selector) and Charith Senanayake (manager)

They may be silently or openly arrogant on the playing field or even contemptuous behind closed doors, but Sri Lanka’s cricketers, officials and coaches make sure to be on their best books while facing the media, something that the average follower of the sport does not see.

On Wednesday in an unusual meeting of journalists following the end of the South Africa series, they guarded their words and stuck to a probable predetermined response in answering questions, some of them contentious on player selection as well as the build-up to the World Cup scheduled to take place in England ten months from now.

While the media has been speculating or sometimes even jumping the gun over who should make Sri Lanka’s squad to the World Cup, the team’s backstage plotters threw the ball back into the hands of reporters.

“Although we have our plans for the World Cup, we also have some more time to see the players and give them more time”, said Sri Lanka coach Chandika Hathurusinghe.

“We have up-coming one-day matches lined up against England (home), New Zealand (away) and South Africa (away) and you will be able to see what kind of plans and team we have in mind”.

But Hathurusinghe may have perhaps taken reporters by surprise and gone beyond the boundary line to say that Sri Lanka Cricket has a special place for one of the players, Kusal Mendis, who could from now on come under more scrutiny going by the coach’s philosophy.

Mendis will be one of the players who will be given more time after batting in 47 ODIs and making just one century and 11 half tons.

“Kusal (Mendis) is one of the best in the world, potentially”, declared Hathurusinghe.“He will get more chances than anyone else in the team”.

The 23-year old Mendis piled up a mere 86 runs from the concluded five-match ODI series against South Africa compared to Niroshan Dickwella’s 158 from the same number of matches meaning the former can no longer be seen as lagging behind with a cheap price tag or else someone will be hunting for the coach’s scalp.

But Hathurusinghe is also a man who knows his limitations even though some may want to see him as the best bet in Sri Lanka’s coaching department after Dav Whatmore.

“I can only plan and give them the best opportunity to be prepared and the result will take care of itself”, said Hathurusinghe who was quizzed the most while selector Gamini Wickremasinghe defended his decisions and vice captain Suranga Lakmal along with stop-gap manager Charith Senanayake not having to field any questions.

Chief Executive Officer Ashley de Silva may not know for how long more he will have to be the sole flag-bearer on policy matters in the absence the rest of the hierarchy of Sri Lanka Cricket that is now under government supervision.

When it was skipper Angelo Mathews’ turn to speak out he made certain his replies were short and to the point with no room left for cross examination especially when asked about batting slots for particular players.

“We like to give players time to settle in (their preferred batting positions) with continuity. But sometimes in a prescribed situation that may not be the case and I think Dasun Shanaka made the most of it”, said Mathews.

The trimly-fit effortless-striking Shanaka who initially clobbered 16 sixes in a domestic T20 game, was a player with less extended opportunities and the South Africans provided him the platform to showcase himself with a bludgeoning 65 in 34 balls with five sixes in the fourth ODI.

It changed the fortunes of Sri Lanka in ODI cricket and this time Shanaka will have only himself to blame if he is not in the World Cup team.

 

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