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
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
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
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
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
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.