Sri Lanka’s poor show questions absence of ‘feeder system’ | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka’s poor show questions absence of ‘feeder system’

31 January, 2021
Sri Lanka: Another Test, another loss
Sri Lanka: Another Test, another loss

After a disastrous tour of South Africa where the Sri Lanka cricket team was whitewashed 2-0, the cricket loving public in Sri Lanka expected the team would be rejuvenated playing on home soil especially at Galle which is more favourable for the home team spinners to challenge opponents.

However all expectations were shattered and Joe Root and his camp showed their superb allround abilities to defeat the Sri Lankan team with more confidence marking England’s sixth consecutive win against Sri Lanka in the island.

What has happened to Sri Lankan cricket? Who should get the blame for consecutive defeats? How did Root and company get such good results in both matches are the questions being raised after these disappointing performances.

As usual the Sri Lankan skipper, stand-in captain, Dinesh Chandimal said the team was outplayed on the fourth day of the second Test and both Test matches finished with a day to spare. He also said his rash stroke during the second innings made him throw away his wicket.

In reality Chandimal’s words came as a joke for those viewers watching the proceedings on television as no spectators were allowed into the ground which was also a joke as cricket fans in Australia, a country hardest hit by the coronavirus compared to Sri Lanka, were allowed in.

The attitude of the Sri Lankan cricketers is unlike it was in those days as they don’t seem to learn from defeats. That’s why they continue to be outplayed and make the same mistakes over and over again.

Do the Sri Lankan players really care to realize they are wearing the Sri Lankan cap and not playing for some franchise team at T20 cricket. Have they yet to realize that as professionals the responsibility they face is enormous.

The team selections were also questionable for the England series, but this is not an excuse.

The batsmen are inconsistent in their performances. The number three batman position which is the most vital slot in the team was held by Kusal Mendis who failed and his replacement Oshada Fernando was the same.

The middle order was shaky and why was Roshen Silva recalled if he was not going to be batting in the top six and that left arm paceman Vishwa Fernando who was in-form with five wickets in an innings in South Africa could not find a place was also questionable.

With limited exposure on slow sub continental pitches the English team was at home in Sri Lanka as Joe Root played the anchor role giving a good lesson to the Sri Lankan batsmen.

Overall the way the Sri Lankan batsmen played their strokes against the England spinners Jack Leach and Dom Bess was always questionable compared to Root who played the sweep and reverse sweep shots against the spinners very well.

The inconsistency became clearly obvious in the first Test when Sri Lanka was bowled out for 135 in the first innings and in the second innings of the second Test all out for 126.

What was most revealing was that while England’s fast bowlers accounted for all 10 wickets in the first innings of the second Test, their spinners did the job in the second innings.

Perhaps the only silver lining for the Sri Lankan team was that left arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya finished as the most successful bowler with 15 wickets, five wickets in first Test and ten wickets in second match.

Contesting the ICC Test Championship, Sri Lanka has already played eight Test matches and won only one against New Zealand while losing six with one ending in a draw. After this England series Sri Lanka was put down to the seventh place with West Indies and Bangladesh behind.

With these results Sri Lanka is out of the Test championship running as India with 430 points is on top while New Zealand and Australia are second and third with England in fourth place.

Former Sri Lankan first Test captain Bandula Warnapura in a television discussion rued that while there is no discipline and targets among the players, the administration should take the blame for neglecting the feeder system for the senior team which comes in the form of U-19, Under-23 and “A” team levels.

Warnapura also worked as cricket operations manager at SLC and served as manager of the team some time ago before taking up work overseas.