A healthy environment is necessary for talent to flourish | Daily News

A healthy environment is necessary for talent to flourish

We all saw what bringing youth into the national Test team could do when in the recently concluded two-Test series in South Africa, Sri Lanka defied all odds to win 2-0. What that selection showed was the talent we have in this country and by giving them the opportunity to showcase their talent on the international stage how it transformed the complexion of the side.

Whether the present selection committee will be given the free hand to continue their good work remains to be seen with the recently elected office-bearers to Sri Lanka Cricket.

One thing is for sure for they are never going to do the right thing. Unless you clean up the environment our talent is not going to flourish. That has been the bane of Sri Lanka cricket. If you don’t back your youth and take bold decisions one simply cannot see Ashantha de Mel’s team succeeding in their mission.

This government has dropped the ball twice and missed out on two occasions where they had the opportunity to clean up the Augean stables. First they allowed the Sports Minister’s portfolio to go to the opposition when Navin Dissanayake after all the good work that he had done was replaced by Dayasiri Jayasekera. The other was allowing the Sumathipala faction to creep back into Sri Lanka Cricket when they should never have been allowed to. It is an indictment on this government to allow Sumathipala’s cronies to sneak in after he had engineered a coup to unseat the government from parliament not so long ago.

With all the corruption and the misdeeds that have been reported on a daily basis in the media, the government should have taken more affirmative action to ensure that those guilty were penalized and held accountable for all the financial violations that had taken place during their tenure.

They have called for a forensic audit that should have been completed before the elections and all those responsible for the financial violations kept out.

Changing of the Sri Lanka Cricket constitution is one thing, but it won’t be easy. The best thing was to bring in legislation and making match fixing a criminal offence. That is something that Sri Lanka Cricket promised the ICC but had not gone ahead with.

Then they are still pussyfooting without taking the action that needs to be taken when it is very clear that the head coach has lost confidence of the team. How can you continue to coach a team where the players have lost confidence in you? A former captain is not even in talking terms with the head coach. There are unconfirmed reports to say that when the Sports Minister Harin Fernando went to Australia one of the requests that the head coach had made to him was that the boys were not talking to him and for the Minister to intervene and resolve it.

With only a few months before the World Cup we are still struggling to get our batting and bowling combinations right. How Upul Tharanga made his way into the slot as opener is simply baffling.

We must get Kusal Perera to open with Niroshan Dickwella. They along with Kusal Mendis, Oshada Fernando who is showing a lot of promise and Dhananjaya de Silva should be the nucleus of our batting. We are not getting the batting line up right and we are very timid in ideas when it comes to doing so.

Kusal Perera first broke into the Test arena three years ago and on his debut scored two fifties but after that he was simply overlooked until now which goes to show the lack of knowledge in identifying talent.

Another rare talent that seems to have simply disappeared is Jeffrey Vandersay the right-arm leg-spinner. We all saw the value of a wrist spinner and the difference he can make when Imran Thahir broke the back of our batting to set up a comfortable win for South Africa in the first ODI at Johannesburg. Every country who plays a wrist spinner is winning matches on a regular basis. We got this boy Vandersay who is absolute talent, but we keep on picking bowlers like Lakshan Sandaken. One wonders what has happened to Vandersay whether like so many others before him he has also fallen by the wayside.

The previous selection committee got it all wrong. Just because a player performed in one format they went and included them in the other format and ruined them.

Sri Lanka are currently experiencing a series of injuries to their fast bowlers which is also contributing to their constant losses in ODI cricket. For the boys to be breaking down so often their workloads are not being managed properly. Today the workload of a cricketer is tremendous with little time for recovery once they get injured.

One has to only take a leaf out of South Africa’s notebook how they are managing their bowlers. They didn’t bring Imran Thahir who is 39 years old to Sri Lanka on their last tour here and in the current ODI series once they have taken a winning lead they are certain to rest him again until the World Cup. This is the type of bold decisions the management should adopt.

One cannot have any hope with the present administrators because the last thing they want to damage is the cricket although they will damage everything else.

Don’t be surprised if the Sumathipala faction tries to get the ODI captain changed before the World Cup. They don’t like Lasith Malinga and even the coach doesn’t like him because he cannot be pushed around. Depending on the outcome of the next four ODI games there might be pressure brought on the national selectors to change Malinga which is not a healthy situation to be in whereas by this time we should be having a settled team for the World Cup.


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