With more and more secretive dealings coming to light in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s World Cup debacle, former team captain and now a so-called Consultant, Mahela Jayawardena, confessed that he was given a half baked, half fit group of players who failed to deliver by losing seven of the nine matches at the global showpiece in India.
“The biggest thing was the fitness. Because of our fitness, the fatigue got into us and our performance died down from the first game towards the last game. The guys made mistakes and that happens because of mental and physical fatigue. We lacked execution and concentration. We cannot hide from it,” said Jayawardena as the players were paraded and made to sit like a bunch of school kids facing the media two days after their arrival from the World Cup.
Among them was the sidelined captain Dasun Shanuka who stayed on with the team for more than three weeks that Jayawardena said kept them in hope for a recovery from injury.
Nobody in the media contingent on the occasion wanted Shanaka to open out substantially.
For more than 20 years fitness factors among Sri Lankan players have never been thoroughly addressed although the team currently has as many as nine members forming a non-playing back-stage team that is heavily paid.
Jayawardena is likely to have what he revealed go against him in his eagerness to pass the buck and save face at a time his position and requirement is being questioned and his employer Sri Lanka Cricket has come under thundering scrutiny like never before with both the government and Opposition combining effectively calling for their ouster and the whole country wants replaced.
Two Opposition heavyweights in Parliament also came out all guns blazing with former Army commander Field Mashal and now MP Sarath Fonseka doubting Mahela’s worthiness as a Consultant.
“Mahela now talks about the team’s fitness and he says this after we lost, He should have realized it before the World Cup, not after everything is over,” said Fonseka who had a hundred thousand strong force under his command.
But more fire was directed at Jayawardena and his keepers at Sri Lanka Cricket by former Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera who questioned the credentials of medically contracted experts who he claimed failed to deal effectively with injuries to two players, spin bowler Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva and towering fast bowler Binura Fernando.
“Binura Fernando had a back problem but he was treated for a leg injury and he was seen like that for seven years. You have a sports medicine doctor, please tell me about his competency,” lashed out Jayasekera.