January 27: 1st ODI at Rangiri Dambulla ICS
January 29: 2nd ODI at Rangiri Dambulla ICS
January 31: 3rd ODI at Welagedara Stadium, Kurunegala
February 3: 4th ODI at R. Premadasa ICS, Colombo
February 6: 5th ODI at R. Premadasa ICS, Colombo
“Kandambi’s army itching to prove a point” — by Naushad Amit in Sunday Times, 22 January 2012
Sri Lanka ‘A’ coach, Romesh Kaluwitharana speaking to the Sunday Times on the forthcoming series against England ‘A’ emphasised the need of exposure for the players who are expected to fit into the national side. He said while preparing the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side which is relatively stronger than before with a batch of 10 national players will take on England ‘A’ in a bilateral ODI series consisting five matches beginning from January 27.
“This series is played on home soil and much will be anticipated from the local cricket fans as we play at three different venues in the country. We have always made it a point to plan the games aiming to win as end of the day it’s an encounter. But from another aspect Sri Lanka ‘A’ is all about grooming players to the national team,” Kaluwitharana said.
The second string outfit of the Sri Lanka cricket team were inspiring during their previous two outings in England and Australia where notable performances came out from players. Up to 13 players were elevated to the national side during the past two years while during South Africa’s ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka in the African country, they added another elk from the young bunch. But against the England ‘A’, the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side has included up to 10 players in the squad who has represented the country in Tests or ODIs. Kaluwitharana pointed out the importance the having these players intact with a second string outfit to void certain slots that may suddenly arise in the senior team.
“The purpose of maintaining a Sri Lanka ‘A’ team is to develop the skills of promising cricketers who may reach the top. But at the same time players who were once dominant in the international scene and now not in good shape too should be given a second chance. All depends on their performances in the domestic tournaments and the consistency in their respective roles. If the national team needs a proper replacement, the Sri Lanka ‘A’ side should have the backing. It’s important to have that balance so those who do not have a permanent place and do not fare in the top team will have the opportunity to restore their position,” he added.
For the first three games Sri Lanka ‘A’ will be led by Thilina Kandamby and Dimuth Karunaratne will act as his deputy. With the Sri Lanka seniors not faring well in South Africa, the new national selectors will have the liberty to pick certain replacements for the upcoming Triangular ODI Series which features India and hosts Australia in the coming month. After Sri Lanka cricket team’s thrashing in South Africa possible openings will be on offer for the Sri Lanka ‘A’ cricketers. But it will be up to the national discards and promising youngsters to let action speak during the opportunities they get against the England ‘A’.
“This tour will be important for the players to dish out their performance and impress the selectors. I hope a few from the bunch could make it to the top,” was Kaluwitharana’s wish.
Sri Lanka ‘A’ squad: Thilina Kandamby (Captain), Dimuth Karunaratne (Vice Captain), Mahela Udawatta, Danushka Gunathilake, Banuka Rajapaksa, Kusal Janith, Farveez Maharoof, Malitha Warnapura, Ashan Priyanjana, Angelo Perera, Kanishka Elvitigala, Thilina Thushara, Tharanga Lakshitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Suraj Randiv, Seekkuge Prasanna, Malinga Bandara, Sajeeva Weerakoon, Sachith Pathirana.
England ‘A’ squad: James Taylor, Jonny Bairstow, Scott Borthwick, Danny Briggs, Jack Brooks, Nathan Buck, Jos Buttler, Jade Dernbach, Alex Hales, Craig Kieswetter, Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel, Joe Root, James Vince, Chris Woakes.
Sri Lanka ‘A’ players get golden opportunity — by Ranjan Anandappa in the Sunday Observer, 22 January 2012
With the England ‘A’ team touring the Island this month, the Sri Lankan counterparts and the fringe players should get the opportunity to prove their worth and pressurize the established players when the two teams meet each other in a five-match ODI series starting from January 27.
The tourists will play only in a ODI series, two matches at the Rangiri Dambulla Stadium, one at the Welegedera Stadium, Kurunegala and two in Colombo at the R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium.
‘A’ team tours will no doubt help to build a strong main team and this tour is bound to develop both teams. ”The development of our teams is no doubt based on these ‘A’ tours where emerging players have cemented their places in the main side. Playing against foreign teams give a good assessment as to where you stand in the international arena. The tour should make the players tougher with mounting pressure situations at times. One can find top quality players confronting even in ‘A’ sides because it is a one big tussle to enter the main team,” said Romesh Kaluvitharana the Sri Lankan ‘A’ coach.
He went on to say that he was proud that he was able to push about ten or twelve players from the ‘A’ side to the national team during his two-and-a-half-year tenure with the back up team.
“There are many players who had made their presence felt in the national team after being in the ‘A’ side. There are some who are among the established players and I am proud of them. Credit should also be given to the players as well for their untiring efforts in reaching higher levels. This particular tour is very important for the young talented players as it could be the path to big time cricket.
In the last two Sri Lanka ‘A’ tours to Australia and England, players of the calibre of Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne got the opportunity to prove themselves. Likewise Seekuge Prasanna, Thisara Perera, Kosala Kulsekera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Kaushal Silva to name some players who have come through the process. There is also Sachitra Senanayake who left for South Africa as a replacement and Kusal Janith Perera who played in a T20 match against Pakistan in the UAE.
Close to about 15 players have been drafted into the national team at some time or other,” added Kaluvitharana. The ‘A’ team concept have given the opportunity even for some Test players to make a come back after a short stint representing the ‘A’ side. Even players of the class of Thilan Samaraweera has been in the ‘A’ team while not on tour. This helps the younger players to boost their confidence. However, a younger player needs more exposure at ‘A’ team level to do better at the highest level. So, the players should be regularly exposed to the International arena. It is important that the competitive level should be at a higher grade for a player to give the best performance.