ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Vol. 41 - No 22

Blind strategy: Sri Lanka didn't see the changes

Callistus Davy reporting from Ahmedabad

Sri Lanka's unceremonious exit from the ICC Champions Trophy tournament here in India has raised many an eye-brow with questions on why the team management and establishment was averse to making changes.

More than any other team the Sri Lankans were caught on the blind-side or some may argue caught with their pants down unable to cover the shame having entered the championship as one of the favourites with an unprecedented five match-winners in Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardena, Kumar Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitheran.

But while the old guns failed to fire, two junior players, batsman Chamara Kapugedera and allrounder Malinga Bandara were wasted without playing a single shot or bowling a single ball.

The team management will argue it was just one match, but Sri Lanka in fact had no strategy for the second round of matches and in reality lost out on a semi final berth with defeat against lowly rated Pakistan and not against South Africa for want of a player in the mould of Bandara.

Despite being the water boy of the team Bandara was in high spirits and kept hitting the single stump at warm-up time on match days. The reason given for Bandara's exclusiion from the team was the frivolous dew factor which made no sense to the professionals.

"Whatever the conditions, dew or no dew, batting first or second or playing under lights, does not matter. The team that plays better cricket wins", said West Indies captain Brian Lara whose team is in the semi finals after a remarkable comeback.

According to team sources there had been discussions on the composition of the team and Sri Lanka's coach Tom Moody was not able to pull the trigger.

"He is no different from some of his predecessors", said a team source.

In hindsight Sri Lanka were unable to defend a 254 target against Pakistan for want of an additional spinner in Bandara and lost to South Africa without a batting strategy which Kapugedera could have played a part in had he been selected.

Ex-Indian batsman Navjot Sidhu found a convenient way to describe Sri Lanka. "They (Sri Lankans) are poor and sick", he said in a television talk show.


Top to the page

Copyright 2006 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.