can go wrong?
By S.R. Pathiravithana
Finally the day that we all feared came to pass. Sri Lanka lost
a one-day international to the minnows of world cricket Bangladesh.
At the same time one might stand up and holler that a passing loss
to a minnow does not mean that doomsday has arrived, and that Bangladesh
had brought down other giants of the likes of Pakistan, India and
if the pill is too bitter to swallow, the truth is stubborn -- on
Wednesday the 22nd of February Sri Lanka did lose their first ODI
to Bangladesh. However it will be intriguing to ask a question or
two as to how Sri Lanka managed to arrive at this ultimate result.
first is why is the Lankan hierarchy persisting that Juhan Mubarak
open the innings when he has clearly proved that he lacks the credentials
to become an effective exponent of this art. He simply lacks the
strokes needed to be a good opener and just can not rotate the strike.
The next is who is responsible for picking C.R.D. Fernando? Over
the years (least the little that he has played) he has proved that
he also lacks the commitment to correct himself. In this game besides
the normal runs scored off his bowling, he gave the opposition an
extra over and ball and mind you it took Bangladesh 49 overs in
balls bowled to win the game with two overs to spare. With the big
bucks that are involved in this game it is time that some one was
held responsible. So much so it is reported that both captain Mahela
Jayawardena and coach Tom Moody skipped the post match press conference
while the former Sri Lanka coach and the present Bangladesh coach
Davnell Whatmore had a good laugh at the end.
anomalies do not stop there. Sri Lanka also lost their under 19
play off match to Bangladesh. However this was not an awesome shock,
but a culmination of events that brought forth this result! Sri
Lanka Cricket hosted the World Under 19 Cricket Championship and
the home team finished a lowly sixth out of sixteen supposed to
be cricket playing nations.
warning signs came sometime ago. This same column screamed out that
the structure below the Test team on top is facing ominous signs.
Then Arjuna Ranatunge who brought home the 1996 World Cup also picked
up the scent and bemoaned that one of these days Sri Lanka is going
to lose even to Bangladesh on a regular basis. How wise and how
true those words of wisdom were. In the Super League play off final
the Bangladesh Juniors did not just beat the Lankan juniors, they
thrashed the day-lights out of them to the tune of a 98 run defeat.
If – ‘adding insult to injury’ is an old adage
this is certainly something that is more meaningful.
get an insight into what really happened at the Under 19 World Cup
Cricket as far as Sri Lanka was concerned Sunday Musings met up
with a person who was involved with the whole episode very closely,
perhaps at very close quarters, but he opted to be anonymous which
is quite understandable. Because if this column reveals as to who
he is he stands to lose a great deal. But anyway we feel that constructive
criticism in any form should be listened to and then acted upon
if the authorities feel there is even an element of truth in what
official saw many shortcomings in the Lankan under 19 outfit that
finally took the field. According to him Sri Lanka lacked three
main ingredients. They were – commitment, discipline and good
captaincy. He said one of the most evident things in the Lankan
camp was that whenever they were on the field they showed no commitment,
lacked discipline and played as eleven individuals mainly due to
the lack of good leadership. So much so that some of the top order
batsmen who represented the under 19 team would have found it difficult
to find a place in the first Xl team in our era. I am sure most
of these players, leave alone representing the country; some even
may not find a place in a decent club side.
the same time he was all in praise of the Nepalese team who won
the ‘plate’ championship. “It was amazing to see
them performing like that with the limited exposure that they have
had. However they played as a single unit, they complimented each
other on their successes. Naturally success followed them. Besides
that India’s leg spinner Chaula is a very bright prospect
for the future, then the Pakistan opening bowlers – the right
arm-left arm combination augurs well for that country. Ironically
what did we produce in the World Cup.?”
all ears. I honestly wanted to learn the way the cookie crumbled.
I knew that he was in a position to give me the insight that I wanted.
He was of the view that the main fault lies in the coaching system
in the country. He said “Have you seen a Anura Ranasinghe
or an Arjuna Ranatunge coming from the schools from the present
system. What I feel is most of the coaches in the country, at present
know their theory, but lack practicality so they do not know how
to part with their knowledge in a balanced manner. They want all
batsmen to be technically perfect and play on the V, those batsmen
who do not conform to those specifications are not considered, so
this way batsmen with natural talent are gone forever.”
the same time he asked the question as to what the cricket hierarchy
at the Sri Lanka cricket is doing about this situation or if they
are even aware of this situation. He said that the SLC has a director
of coaching. Is he aware of this situation? He was of the view that
one of the avenues that this anomaly could be addressed to is by
educating the coaches. He said “You can hire a top coach and
have a series of seminars and educate these school coaches with
some pros and cons of good coaching. For this the SLC and the Schools
Cricket Association must work in tandem. At the same time they can
send some coaches for overseas training and in return they will
train the local coaches on their return.
way the whole system will automatically develop. It’s sad
to say some of these school coaches are getting a payment ranging
from six to eight thousand rupees, and they do this for a living.
Here the vicious circle starts. The school cannot afford to pay
them a higher wage. The salary that the coach receives from the
school is not sufficient. At this point what happens is that unscrupulous
parents who want their child to play for his school at any cost
takes advantage of the situation and a child with lesser ability
comes on top than a better performer.
another common thing is the authorities go on these talent picking
trips. Naturally each boy will get only about 3 to six balls to
deliver and if it is one of his off days and cannot perform to his
true potential he is lost forever. I suggest that we should have
talent scouts who go around the place and spot them in their natural
environment. There is no better yard-stick than to ascertain a person’s
real strength other than when he is performing in conditions that
he is used to. In this manner a talent scout will be able to see
the full potential of a young future prospect”.