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Sri Lanka Cricket team’s tour of England

Reservations on the captaincy

It was with great interest that I followed the performances of our team (and that of the English cricketers as well), as ours was a strong outfit which could take on any team on current individual form.

However, I had my reservations on the captaincy, and further, the non-appointment of a vice captain for such an important tour was a great shock to me. I am most certain that even others who have wielded the willow too would have felt the same.

Let me begin with some comments on remarks made by Elmo Rodrigopulle in his column in the “Daily News” and his match reports.

Extreme weather conditions and pre-tour preparations

As per Rodrigopulle, our team experienced chilly, windy conditions and low temperatures during most of their matches. During the early part of English summer these conditions should have been expected and therefore necessary precautionary measures should have been taken.

No one has control over these dreadful conditions and as the British Taxi Drivers of Asian origin would say (should by any chance the passenger would start a friendly conversation with the driver) the British weather most unpredictable !!!!!!!

Hence, the best thing the SL team should have done was to be prepared to play under such conditions by having pool practices in locations like Nuwara-Eliya. Radella or Diyatalawa continuously for a period of 1 to 1 ½ months prior to the tour. For this purpose, we should plan for stadiums, or even super outdoor pitches in locations with cooler climates with temperature below 15 degrees Celsius.

SLC has built stadiums in Sooriyaweva and Pallekelle and into the future, we should plan to build a Stadium in Nuwara-Eliya or Radella. Problems as above could be overcome and thus, not have lame excuses for poor performances while on tour to England or for that matter, even New Zealand/Australia or South Africa.

Most touring teams would love to play in cooler climates and we will have more tourists flowing in and local people in the central hills too would have a chance of witnessing reputed international cricketers in action without having to come to Colombo.

Poor performances against seam/swing bowling

Our batsmen failed against the superb seam/swing bowling of the English pacies and against James Anderson who moved the ball beautifully with control and it was a real treat to watch the controlled movement in the air and off the turf.

No wonder our batsmen failed except on few occasions as we do not have the bowlers who move the ball even under overcast conditions, thus depriving our batsmen to get accustomed to playing the moving ball at practices.

We had Chaminda Vaas who used to move the ball beautifully and only Chanaka Welagedera of the current lot of pacies seem to be able to move the ball to some extent. Others seem to rely on sheer pace and bounce to get wickets.

Fast bowling coach has a responsibility to nurture such bowlers as well. It is true that Lasith Malinga was a great discovery having a unique action/yorker. As Malinga will not be seen in the test arena and the SL team sans Murali for match-winning performances in the spin department, test victories against strong sides seem to be a distant dream.

Rangana Herath may be trained to bowl the left armer’s natural in-swingers with the new ball. Rodrigopulle may remember Keith Labrooy/Barney Reid of STC, Travis Fernando of SPC and Ajith de Silva of Ananda/Sri Lanka who were specialists in this type of bowling.

Appointment of a vice captain for the 20/20 and ODI matches

Poor Thilina Kandamby was brought in from nowhere and appointed as vice captain knowing very well that he will have to lead SL in the 20/20 match and the ODIs’ should T M Dilshan be unavailable through injury at Lords.

With such a responsibility being thrust upon him, though several other players were available for this vacancy. (This would have been an ideal opportunity to test Angelo Mathews, a bright prospect for the SL captaincy), Kandamby failed miserably and was dropped for the final ODI.

It may be the end of the road for him as far as his international cricket career is concerned.

Anyway, I wish the Sri Lankan cricket team the very best in their series against the Aussies who are still in the team-building process.

I sincerely hope that we can regain the lost prestige by beating the comparatively weaker Aussies and playing under conditions favourable to us.

English team

We have to congratulate the Englishmen for having won against us and this should have been predicted as theirs is a brilliant side bringing back memories of the English sides of the 1955-1965 era with players of the calibre of Peter May.

Colin Cowdrew, Godfrey Evans/Jim Parks, Jim Laker, Tony Lock, Fred Trueman, Brian Statham, Frank Tyson, Ted Dexter, to name a few.

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