In the last 5-6 years if there is any team that is on a decline then it is the Sri Lankan cricket national team. A team that once won the World Cup in 1996 and was considered as a fighting team has seen a huge decline in their on-field performance. The last good performance from this team came in the 2015 World Cup, where they reached the Quarter Finals.
There have been a few moments in between like defeating India in the Champions Trophy, winning a two-Test series in South Africa, and defeating England in the 2019 World Cup but apart from that, they have done nothing significant. In the ongoing series against England, they have lost all the four white-ball games without even showing a fight. Sri Lankan cricket is in trouble, and they need to do something quickly if they want to change their fortune. So, let us have a look at five things Sri Lankan cricket should do for their revival.
5. Increase the fitness standards
One basic thing which Sri Lanka needs to do is to set some high fitness standards for their players. In the last 3-4 years, their players have struggled with fitness issues, time and again, with the prime example being Angelo Mathews. Mathews who was supposed to be the go-to man after the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara, Jayawardene, and Dilshan is injured half the time.
The demands of the game have changed, especially if a player wants to play all three formats. If you are not fit enough, then a major injury is around the corner, forcing you to miss 6-8 months of cricket. Sri Lankan cricket needs to fix this problem by bringing in some high fitness standards.
4. Proper Guidance
This Sri Lankan cricket team is very young and inexperienced and in such a case you need proper guidance. The players will only progress if they have the proper facilities and the expertise to train them. Sri Lankan cricket has lacked that as there has been constant chopping and changing of the head coach.
In the last eight years, the Sri Lankan team has had eight coaches. They asked Chandika Hathursingha to join as head coach and two years later he was asked. They have now bought in Mickey Arthur as the head coach and Tom Moody as the director. If they think these two are the right people, they should stick with them for at least a whole cycle. Without proper guidance, the young Sri Lankan players will go nowhere.
3. Discipline among players
Recently, three Sri Lankan players – Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, and Danushka Gunathilaka were sent home due to the breach of the bio bubble in England during the white-ball series against England. This is not the first incident where a Sri Lankan player has faced the heat.
In fact, Danushka Gunathilaka has had problems with indiscipline which has cost him heavily. All the Sri Lankan players need to understand that they are not helping their team’s cause by doing such things. Discipline among players will be extremely key if Sri Lankan cricket wants to start its revival.
2. Backing players
Since the 2015 World Cup, there has been constant chopping and changing in the Sri Lankan teams across formats. It seems as if their captain changes every series. The board or the selectors are not backing a single player. They went from Angelo Mathews to Dinesh Chandimal to Dimuth Karunaratne to Thisara Perera and now to Kusal Perera.
Mathews and Chandimal are picked and then dropped and then picked again. Nobody knows what the selectors are doing, as they aren’t backing any players. If the selectors or board doesn’t show confidence in the players, then Sri Lankan cricket will never revive.
1. Change in Domestic System
The most important thing the Sri Lankan Cricket board needs to do is make some domestic system changes. There has been a lot of talk about how the Sri Lankan domestic system isn’t of the highest quality and so the players coming from there can’t meet the international standards.
Sri Lanka has 24 domestic sides in their domestic competition, which means at least 264 players participate in the competition. If a small country like Sri Lanka has so many domestic sides, then the quality will reduce automatically. They need to focus on quality rather than quantity and make changes in the domestic system as soon as possible.