Bad dreams sometimes can haunt you though some of them could just disappear with a new day. Then a brand new reality can dawn on you giving you hope and expectations for the future. The recent cricket played by the Sri Lankan National team could be described in such a manner. After a forgettable and poor tour of South Africa, the team has started off the short tour of Australia with a bang winning the first T20 game in a series of three.
Columns News - TALKING CRICKET
Reading through the comments that appeared in the social media after the fourth ODI game despite the loss of Sri Lanka, was most encouraging and welcome. The insults, the harsh criticism seem to have evaporated and instead the team being hailed as heroes. The comments about Tharanga the skipper was the most noteworthy.
It is quite obvious that the Sri Lankans have not competed well at all in the One day series so far. No amount of criticism is going to help the team unless and otherwise they show the determination needed.
At the time of reading this column the opening One Day Game of the five match one day series between Sri Lanka and South Africa would be over. Whatever the result may be, my hope is that the Lankans will compete and run the South Africans close or closer than the Test matches. This belief is derived from the fact that the Lankans won the T20 series two games to one.
At a time when the Sri Lankan cricketers are being beaten in South Africa it is abundantly clear to all that the average fan is unhappy. Player bashing has been a common talking point with Social Media being the most vocal. Facebook and Twitter has been full of critical, insulting and sometimes very personal attacks on the players. There is no doubt that the average cricket fan on the street is unforgiving and very quick to react as cricket is a game that is idolized so much in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankans possibly are the second craziest cricket country after India, with the players being virtually treated as Demi Gods! When the going is good, however, just like the recent series against Australia, the support and response is absolutely positive and maddening. However, it turns nasty when the shoe is on the other foot, as it is at the moment!
Defeat looks a possibility for Sri Lanka in the 3rd Test too considering the way the game has panned out so far. My assessment is based at the end of day two and the way the pitch has played at the New Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg, though the game has seen glorious uncertainties.
Losing a Test match inside three and half days wasn't the ideal start for Sri Lanka in 2017. This is especially critical as it did come on the back of losing the 1st Test in the series too and with this game the series is done and dusted for the visitors. The third and final Test starts on 12 January at the Wanderers in Johannesburg.
It may sound as an insult or a lack of confidence in the team, but in reality the knowledgeable cricket fan, critique, player, coach, commentator, writer etc. etc. knew that the South African tour by Sri Lanka happening at the moment was a tough assignment. If Sri Lanka was expected to win the series then that was aiming too high. South Africa despite being depleted by the absence of some of their key players had just beaten Australia in Australia which was a massive confidence boost for the team.
Is India really as good as they look, in all ages of cricket or hasn't the other teams kept up the pace of progress? That's my question today as I attempt to understand how Sri Lanka lost the Youth Asia cup final played at the R.Premadasa Stadium under lights. The baffling thing about the whole affair was the way the Lankans surrendered from virtually a strong position and allowed India to get a foot in, from where India never looked back.
Sri Lanka's current tour of South Africa is possibly the biggest and the toughest this young team has encountered since their trip to England in May 2016. One has to understand and accept that England in May was different with many young players in the side struggling to find their feet and trying to make an impression in very difficult conditions. It was the type of tour that could have questioned the very ability of a player and also bring in a lot of self-doubts into their game. This is especially true when you come across conditions that are cold, foreign and bowlers who thrive in such settings. Anderson and Broad, though struggling in India at present, were menacing and challenging to the best in the world in cold and seaming conditions of England, and hence, the Sri Lankan players on that tour were no match to them at all. The defeat and the capitulation wasn't a surprise for the knowledgeable cricket fan, though it was quite obvious that Sri Lanka couldn't have got any worse from that pounding both in the tests and ODI's.
Looking at the Sri Lankan squad picked for South Africa confirms that the selector's job is never an easy task. Generally the job of a selector is dependent on both the positive and the negative aspects that govern a situation, and they should be mindful to maintain the correct balance when picking a squad. Obviously the selectors had the opportunity to pick the squad from a positive situation, where the selection options are healthy and good. Besides, one has to always assume that the selectors are the experts on the job and their decisions are based on the knowledge they carry, as well as in the best interest of the respective situation. Hence, the reason why such a decision may not be overturned even in a court of law despite all arguments one could have against such a selection.
The much looked forward to domestic tournament is just kicking off after a week's postponement. The tournament is bound to lose its sheen somewhat with the national cricketers being away on tour to South Africa, and then briefly to Australia. With the void left by sixteen cricketers, the expected competition is bound to suffer, though one has to look at it as an opportunity for the next rung of players to stake a claim in the bigger stage.
So it's Sri Lanka versus Zimbabwe in the Tri Nation Final today. It may appear to be a one sided contest, and it could surely turn out to be that way. This, only time will tell. However, that can never take away the achievements of the hosts of getting there against all odds.
After an impressive performance in the tests and a comprehensive win in the opening triangular series game, the Sri Lankans should be utterly disappointed with their effort in the outing against the West Indies. Whilst the Lankan bowling can't be faulted for the loss, the batsmen, who did impress up to that point, need to accept the full responsibility for the inability of the team to have overhauled a gettable score on a good batting surface.
Dimuth Karunaratne, though clinching the man of the series prize in the two Test series against Zimbabwe, was not the star for Sri Lanka. It was undoubtedly the diminutive skipper Rangana Herath who stole the show.
Being given the leadership almost at the eleventh hour one has to concede that getting one's mind around to such a job is never an easy task.
The series starting in Harare involving Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe may be a low profile one in keeping with the goings on in Test cricket elsewhere in the world; though, there is no doubting that the games will be every bit as important as one could imagine for both sides. For the two teams this is the first time they are locking horns in Test cricket since 2004, which is twelve long years.
Is pink ball cricket here to stay? Will it be a permanent feature of Test cricket? Is day/night the way forward? These are yet some of the unanswered questions that are being continuously explored by the authorities.
I believe the idea of day night cricket played with a pink ball is a good one. Though judging by the numbers watching the game on the grounds at UAE in the recently concluded West Indies vs Pakistan first Test doesn't support it, I am sure the effect on TV audiences - where the money actually is - was bound to be large and much bigger than what a day game would have had on live telecast of a Test match.
In my topic of today, my attempt is to discuss the changing role of a coach in a cricket team and how critical a good coach can be towards its fortunes. To understand a role of the coach in the modern game, it's imperative that one looks back to the past.
Whilst the role of a coach can differ from a school team to a National team, my attention will be on the role of a coach in a National team. Interestingly the position of the coach never existed until recently, with a touring team generally having a Manager and an Assistant Manager who would take over the role of coaching, and that too, to organize practices and be in charge of a net, but generally the captain ran things.
Domestic cricket has been a topic of discussion and many theories have been put forward to upgrade it in Sri Lanka. The easiest - and a theory most people simply hold on to - is the reduction of the number of teams playing in the top league. Whilst that may appeal to many who may or may not understand the game completely, it's no doubt easier said than done.
Being in Bangladesh for the Afghanistan vs Bangladesh series also gave me time to peep into the BPL draft which happened on 30 September at the plush Radisson Hotel in the suburb of Dhaka. For the current edition two other teams have been added making it seven in all. Eighty five players in total and twenty three foreigners, including thirteen Sri Lankans, are in the fray. It's no doubt exciting times ahead for not just the players but for the vast number of fans that will flock to the stadiums come the tournament in November going on to the month of December.
- Namal slaps CBK with defamation 3345
- Pakistan still eyeing JF-17 Thunder Fighter sale to Sri Lanka 3141
- CID grills govt Printer, Director, others 3178
- LRC seeks Police protection 3134
- MR to meet Tamil and Muslim leaders 3187
- Leprosy hits western province 3140
- skipper of ill-fated boat remanded 3129
- Raggers will be promptly expelled 3151
- Double-speak from SB on Wimal 3155
- VX nerve agent killed Kim Jong-nam 3134
- More snags foul up Constitution making 3254
- NFPWHR warns of massive protest 3131
- Mangala meets US HDP delegation 3138
- SL Police deny ‘hunting’ refugees in HK 3129
- 1500 students denied Uni education 3182
- SLFP CMs to boycott meeting 3129
- Wimal not a party leader – Dayasiri 3131
- New Zealand-bound boat people held 3122
- Pension for disabled ex-soldiers 3123
- Divorce case ends after 18 years 3178
- Payagala death toll now 16 3953
- MR hits out at CBK 4054
- ONUR refutes Army claims 3948
- Case against Rohitha on 5 March 3956
- Nearly 10% of children don’t attend school – Survey 4112
- February – a celebratory month 3110
- Political mayhem 3123
- Significance of Sri Lanka’s legal profession 3114
- A house divided 3102
- Building castles in the air 3107
- Upholding children’s rights 5648
- Ronaldinho launches soccer academy in China 2211
- French possess fear factor, says Zebo 2218
- UB Finance main sponsor for STC Rugby for 2017 2212
- New circular issued to allow player poaching 2258
- Malinda claims seven scalps 2215
- Trinity destroys Wesley 2225
- Derailed in Sri Lanka 3654
- Wigneswaran’s irrationality Leading Tamil’s astray 3757
- A tale of woe and courage 3040
- On the Grapevine 2952
- 10 children and 33 grandchildren Centenarian vows to live 104 years 2940
- Is India Still Interested Developing Trincomalee Port? 3333
- SAITM students will not be accepted by any country– Prof. Hiran Amerasekera 3137
- I have no issues with the Minister– Anoma Gamage 3502
- LG elections should be under new system 3332
- Dr. Sivamohan reiterates preference for foreign intervention 2896
- RICE SHORTAGE AND HIGH PRICES BIG MILL OWNERS TO BLAME SAYS ACPF 3045
- I believe in cooperative politics – Karuna 2010
- I like to talk to diehard Sinhala chauvinists – Wigneswaran 2360
- Justices should be subject to judicial audits 3750
- Traders have imported rice under local branding– Duminda Dissanayake 3627
- CTSU to protest SAITM ruling-on the streets 3872
- UPS delivery drone has glitch at launch event 2691
- Arik Air investment offer rejected by Ethiopian Airlines 2689
- Facebook confusion over fake cancer babies U-turns 2690
- A guided tour of the cybercrime underground 2687
- Google’s self-driving firm sues Uber 2687
- JTB awarded for promotion of brand Jamaica at Rio Olympics 2691
- Valencia stun Real Madrid 2727
- GSP+ To sustain economy or to Mutate society? 3044
- Fully fledged Media Commission by June – DGI 3076
- Malayalam film - “Orazhcha” (A week) 4553
- Sri Lanka’s Finest Talent – but Who Cares? 4549
- The mesmerizing mystery of Mozart’s music – Mass in C major KV317 (Coronation) 4531
- A Showstopping Performance 4765
- House for Rent 4553
- Footpaths Towards Deconstruction - part 9 4509
- Junsu 1507
- The fate of our woods 1506
- Celebrate ‘A month of love’ 1505
- Five new branch openings 1509
- THINC Sri Lanka Networking Conference 2017 1583
- ‘Our Shop’ for staff welfare 1509