Minister insist on fitness
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
CT Sports: Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara stated that he won't approve any team without fitness reports about players, and lashed out at SL cricketers stating they are overweight and some of the ugliest looking players to play international cricket in terms of physical appearance.
According to Sri Lanka's sports law any team that represents the country needs approval by the Sports Minister first.
"SL is the only cricket team to have players with big bellies and it's not surprising there are so many drops. Leave alone the catches, how many runs have leaked in the field," said the minister in reply to queries from Ceylon Today.
Minister further pointed out that strength and conditioning training from a young age is essential to produce fitter players required by modern day cricket.
He further pointed out that the transformation of the Pakistan team was after following Army training in 2016 and suggested SL should follow the same path.
"Look at the Bangladesh team. There aren't any players with big bellies. That's because they are given good training. That's why I said we don't have any option other than to give our players Army training for six months. I recall how the physiotherapist had to go to the ground four times in an over," said Jayasekara.
Pakistan team who used to have more overweight players were given Army training ahead of their England tour last year where they went on to win Two Test matches and drew the series in England and is in the finals of the Champions Trophy whereas SL were knocked out.
Catches win Matches
"There is a famous saying in cricket that 'Catches win Matches'. But I heard a player had said that dropped catches does not cost the match. But the fact remains that we lost because of those drops," added Jayasekera referring to Lasith Malinga's remarks after he returned to Sri Lanka from the Champions Trophy where Malinga said dropped catches did not cost the game and that he has dropped many catches in his career.
Earlier on Saturday, Minister was very critical about the conduct and attitude of SL cricketers where he pointed out that SL players get injured just after scoring 50 runs in a match. International coaches advice players without making them run to prevent them from injuries which should not be the case if SL players went through proper training methods and strength and conditioning training.
Sri Lanka's next assignment will be a home series against Zimbabwe which is set to get underway on 29 June.
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