SLC should look into players’ fitness before picking team | Daily News
The Test series against England

SLC should look into players’ fitness before picking team

Dinesh Chandimal being treated in the field.
Dinesh Chandimal being treated in the field.

It is high time that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) makes an impartial investigation and take adequate action with regard to the decline of players fitness levels as they had a disastrous tour of South Africa recently suffering a series whitewash at the hands of the Proteas with a humiliating 2-0 defeat.

When Daily News contacted the Chief Selector and Manager of the Sri Lanka team, Asantha de Mel, he was of the view that the players’ fitness levels were below expectations before the Proteas tour said, “The downfall of the team was mainly due to the poor fitness level of the players for which they were citing various reasons including the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Former skipper Angelo Mathews hamstring injury in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) semi-final which sidelined him from the selection for the Proteas tour gave a clear indication that the players were under-prepared well before the team’s departure. No sooner than the squad arrived in South Africa, the main strike bowler Suranga Lakmal pulled a hamstring while at practice ending up him being out for the whole series,” he added.

“To make matters worse, all-rounder Dhananjaya de Silva became the second victim of the tour, pulling a thigh sprain while running between the wickets, which is a very rare incident to occur in a test match, while he was in prime form and playing a pivotal role to rescue his team from the doldrums. He was finally sidelined from the series and the upcoming home series against England. Adding salt to the wound the remaining three senior players Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, and Dinesh Chandimal suffered muscle-related injuries dealing a huge blow to the tourist team composition, ultimately resulting in losing both matches heavily within three days,” Asantha said.

“It is mandatory for all players who are under the purview of the SLC to maintain their fitness levels at all times at competition level. They are being spoon-fed with all the necessary facilities unlike the good old days, where those players didn’t have the facility and perks that the present players are blessed with. All these players are full time contracted and are on a healthy payroll of the SLC apart from their other sponsorship deals.”

“As per reliable sources, it is reliably understood that some of the senior players had a gala time partying with the team’s fitness staff instead of obtaining their services to keep them fit and ready for the upcoming assignments. They have hosted some of these staff for private meals at the leading restaurants to get fitness clearance to play the games without being sidelined. This move is also depriving the young talented players’ chances, as they are capable of putting up a better performance for their country.”

“The cricket-playing countries in the region likes of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have strict surveillance systems especially in the areas of players’ physic, where they work immensely to keep them fit and ready to perform the task. The SLC should investigate this matter sooner than later as to what went wrong with the present set of players fitness, who are mostly between 25 to 33 years of age.

Failing to do so will have serious repercussions as they are heading to a hectic International Cricketing schedule starting with the England tour.”

“From the upcoming England tour we will be very particular on the players’ fitness levels. All players will have to maintain the levels stipulated by the SLC and any player failing to meet those standards will not be considered for selection.” said de Mel.

“Today all cricket-playing nations are maintaining high standards of fitness and we have to be on par with them. Hence, irrespective of any players’ reputation he will have to go through the process maintained by the SLC to prove that he is eligible for selection.” concluded Asantha.