Cricket Team’s Problems in Selectors’ Gunsights

Rex Clementine, in Island, 14 January 2019, where the title is De Mel urges SLC to stamp out indiscipline”

Chairman of Selectors Ashantha De Mel has urged Sri Lanka Cricket to not to tolerate indiscipline after two senior players were involved in a public spat last week while on tour in New Zealand. ODI captain Lasith Malinga and ex-skipper Thisara Perera were settling scores through social media bringing the game into disrepute.

SLC Chief Executive Officer Ashley De Silva addressed the issue by speaking to both players but the duo escaped punishment. “Whatever the differences they have, they should sort that out in the dressing room rather than sorting them out in social media. All teams will have differences of opinions and it has happened in the past as well, but never before players went public with their grievances as it is the case today, De Mel told The Island.

“We can learn something from India, who sent two players home after their involvement in a controversy recently. Discipline is very important. Players have contracts and they have to abide by it,” the former fast bowler added. “SLC should take action to stamp out indiscipline and if players go public with their grievances, there will be issues. Whoever the captain is, the team should rally around the captain.”

Sri Lanka failed to win a single game in New Zealand having suffered losses in all three formats. Their form in ODI cricket in particular is worrying after being whitewashed by the Kiwis 3-0. Sri Lanka have less than a handful of games ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup that gets underway in June.

The rot had set in long time back. If you take the whole of last year, not a single player managed to score a hundred. If the batsmen are not making big runs, we are going to struggle. The minimum score you need to make these days to win an ODI is 320. The grounds where the World Cup matches will be played are smaller compared to most venues. So we need to have the batsmen who will get us that score. The positive in New Zealand was that there were two hundreds and our fielding looked sharp.”

De Mel remained confident that the batting will click in time to come. “My personal view is that Kusal Mendis is a top class player although he has struggled in white ball cricket. We need to invest on him and I have little doubt he will come good. We have to nurture him. One mistake that they have done is that he has been playing at all positions. We have told them that he should stick to number four. In Test cricket last year, he was the second highest run getter behind Virat Kohli. Dhananjaya De Silva is another player who has impressed us.

Our attack is unable to make breakthroughs in the middle overs and that is a concern. Akila Dananjaya was doing a superb job but now that he has been called for a suspect action we have to reassess our strategies,” he noted.

De Mel went onto say that Akila will go to Madras to do further testings and then he will undergo ICC testings. The selectors are also looking at Tharindu Kaushal, who has gone out of the radar after his doosra was reported to be suspect. Leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay’s struggles seem to be endless and he looks out of the equation for the World Cup having dislocated his shoulder a few weeks ago.


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