Saturday, 23 November 2019 09:59

‘We can’t actually blame the cricketers when we don’t have a proper cricket calendar’

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Having performed incredibly well in South Africa by winning the 3-nation Emerging Players one-day tournament and then following it up with a 2-1 unofficial ODI series defeat of Bangladesh Emerging in Bangladesh, Sri Lanka Emerging were expected to defend the Asian Cricket Council Emerging Teams Cup in Bangladesh with another thorough performance.

But what took place was a complete disaster because they lost all their three Group ‘A’ matches to Oman, Pakistan and Afghanistan and were bundled out of the competition thus making a surprise early exit.

“It was the same set of players who went to South Africa and Bangladesh where we won so convincingly but here they didn’t play to their talent,” said Sri Lanka Emerging Team coach Chaminda Vaas for whom it was the first loss from three outings.

“If you take it match wise we did so many mistakes on the ground. What we planned we couldn’t stick to. In all three matches they were repeating the same mistakes over and over.

“Having said that we can’t actually blame the cricketers. We don’t have a proper cricket calendar in this country. Before this tour the guys were playing under 23 and Mercantile tournaments and there wasn’t any time to train at all. Once we lose there is no point giving excuses.

“We have to look at the bigger picture. The preparation and even the team we got was too late. Sri Lanka Cricket knew that we had three tours for the Emerging side – the South African, Bangladesh and Asia Cup. We won comprehensively in South Africa and we beat Bangladesh convincingly but after that there was no proper plan. They gave the team in the last minute. We can give so many excuses but in the end these boys have to play well,” Vaas said.

The former Sri Lanka pace ace said the players should learn from their mistakes and come up.

“We have the talent and the skill but nowadays cricket has gone to another level it’s all about fitness. The way the game is going the guys playing in the middle have to be smart enough to face tough pressure situations and overcome them. The mindset is very important and they need to be prepared mentally on and off,” said Vaas.

“It’s nothing to do with technique the same players went to South Africa and Bangladesh. Mentally yes, you have to act and think smartly and play according to the situation. They have to read the situation and come out of it.

“Even during the World Cup all the scores were over 300 the rules and the game we are playing with today you can easily get 300. People who are responsible in the middle have to calculate and take those risks and put the runs on the board,” he said.

Sri Lanka failed to top 300 in any of their three matches the highest being 268 in the opening game against Oman. They made 238 against Afghanistan and were bundled out for 93 by Pakistan.

Commenting on the performances of the two new members in international cricket Vaas, said that Oman played their national team but with an Under 23 side. “If you take Oman they have been playing for the last six months with all the national teams like Netherlands, Scotland and the same team that qualified for the ICC World T20 next year played in the Emerging Asia Cup. So has Afghanistan. Why they are playing so well is that they have only six teams in their domestic tournament and 90 players and they play quality cricket.”

As we all know Sri Lanka’s domestic cricket has been diluted for the sake of votes and we have about 26 teams and 390 players which is not helping the national cause at all.

“The only positive I got from this tour is that these guys are young and emerging and it’s an up and coming team. They’ll have to learn from their mistakes and come out well in the next tournament. The spirit of the team is good with players supporting each other. They are all young boys between 20 and 21 and they are playing as a team. I am pretty sure they will come out well in the next tournament which is the South Asian Games in Nepal where we will be fielding almost the same team with the exception of one or two players,” said Vaas.

“My only concern is these guys are playing too much cricket. I am not blaming the cricketers because they need to have time off to train well. Fitness is the most important thing because today fitness is something that you can win games.”

(Daily news)

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