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Bangladesh will be no easy meat

The minnows of Test cricket - Bangladesh are here for a Test and one day tour of Sri Lanka. Perhaps, the lead-up to the series may not become hot as Bangladesh will face a gigantic task.

Nevertheless, the forthcoming home series against Bangladesh is important for the future of Sri Lanka cricket. With Sri Lanka looking for suitable replacements for some of the veteran players in the next couple of years, the Bangladesh series would provide the barometer in our search for talent.

The Bangladesh series would put minimum pressure on our young players in making it to the international arena. Comparatively, Bangladesh has no big names in their tour party and are rated at the bottom of the World Rankings. Playing under familiar home conditions would also make our youngsters more comfortable.

Hence, itís a double opportunity for the Lankan youngsters who would be making it to the big league.

After the home series against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka team will tour South Africa for the 20Twenty World Cup which would be followed by a five-match one day international series against England in October. There will also be five Tests against Australia and England.

All these indicate a strenuous season for Lankan cricketers. Itís high time we keep our top cricketers in perfect shape and also maintain a good feeder pool so that there would be quality replacements when necessary. In order to do that, we should start a good preparation right from the Bangladesh series.

As Sri Lanka Captain Mahela Jayawardena has quite rightly pointed out, the home series against Bangladesh would offer a golden opportunity to our young cricketers to prove their talent. Hence, itís the duty of our talented young cricketers to grab this rare opportunity and impress the selectors.

It is pity that veteran top order batsman Marvan Atapattu deciding to skip the forthcoming series citing personal reasons.

Having secured a lucrative USD 100,000 contract with Sri Lanka Cricket, Atapattu has a commitment to honour, forget the loyalty a player should have when called for national duty.

Though he has indicated personal reasons for pulling out of Bangladesh series, Atapattu has been playing for a club in England. Obviously that too should be a rich deal.

We do not know the actual circumstance which has led to his last minute withdrawal.

But there were many reports during the World Cup in the Caribbean that Atapattu was not given a chance. Though he was a mere passenger, all members of the tour party got equal shares, which no other sportsman here would earn in their lifetimes.

Atapattuís feelings are understandable as he has been struggling to regain his place ever since he suffered a constant back injury. Though he was included in the World Cup squad, he did not get a single opportunity, which is heart breaking to any cricketer.

However, if Atapattu had been at the receiving end, this would have been the ideal opportunity for him to regain confidence.

In skipping the Bangladesh series, Atapattu has thrown the best chance he got to make a comeback. His decision may prove costly, if the SLC decides to take disciplinary action.

The forthcoming series against Sri Lanka is going to be an equally important one for Bangladesh too. Having made their presence felt under former Sri Lanka coach Dav Whatmore at the World Cup, Bangladesh will make every endeavour to make their presence felt. But they do not have Whatmoreís innovative ideas any more.

But with the familiar home-type wickets and weather in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh cricketers still have a chance of springing a surprise or two.

Sri Lanka captain Jayawardena is well aware of this fact. That is why he has said that Sri Lanka team would not take the things lightly against the Bengali Tigers. The Lankan teams think this as another challenge and are gearing to face it.

Sri Lanka adopted similar tactics against Bangladesh at the recent World Cup. Having beaten India, Bangladesh team came to the league match against Sri Lanka with their heads high. But Jayawardena and his men took the things seriously and convincingly beat Bangladesh at the end. We should adopt similar strategy without taking things for granted.

Itís good to know the Lankan captain is having the right thinking and the whole team should rally round him to accomplish the task.

Sri Lanka has a stronger team on paper but that does not mean that the host should take things lightly and underestimate their opponents.

Every single match is important and the success here would boost the morale of the younger ones.

Hence, Sri Lanka cannot afford to make any mistakes and should be on the ball right throughout the series.

That would be the key to Sri Lankaís success in their first Test series without Coach Tom Moody, who ended his innings.

 

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