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January 4, 2006
Sri Lanka are calling on Sandy Gordon, a renowned sports psychologist, to help the national cricket team come out of their present rut of defeats. In the past two months, Sri Lanka have suffered defeats at the hands of India and New Zealand in ODIs where they have lost eight of their last nine matches, as well as a 0-2 defeat in the Test series in India.
Following the defeat by New Zealand at Christchurch yesterday, Duleep Mendis, the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), told a media gathering at the Taj Samudra in Colombo that the team had lost all confidence. "It is very important that the coaches get together and talk to the players,"he said. Gordon will meet the players and talk to them in two sessions in Melbourne on January 9 and in Perth in the first week of February. "In a situation like this, this is what is needed. Mentally we are down. We have to give the players back the confidence because we are approaching the World Cup. It is a very important time. Hopefully, we will benefit out of it."
Mendis reflected back to the time when Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996 when he was the team manager by stating: "Like in the past in 1995 we had a good series in Australia and the boys got all the confidence to go and win the World Cup in March 1996. I think it is very important that we do that in Australia once again followed by wins against Pakistan in the home series in April."
Gordon's services were used prior to the home series against West Indies where it proved to be quite successful when Sri Lanka went on to win the Test series 2-0 and the one-day triangular against India and West Indies.
Sri Lanka travel from New Zealand to Australia to participate as the third team in the VB one-day triangular series against Australia and South Africa which will take place from January 13 to February 14.
When asked why the team is on a losing streak, Mendis said the best persons to answer that question are Tom Moody, the coach, and Marvan Atapattu, the captain. He also added that Michael Tissera, the team manager, should also be able to say where the team is going wrong. Mendis said: "Moody must be knowing where we are going wrong. He will have to address that. I feel as a past cricketer it is all mental right now. Moody being a past cricketer is aware of it and especially in Australia where he was brought up. I am sure he knows what he is in for."
When asked whether the appointment of Chaminda Vaas to the vice-captaincy had led to any dissent in the team, Mendis said: "A vice-captain can be any member from the team. Chaminda Vaas is an outstanding cricketer. When he was appointed to the post I didn't think there would be any conflict inside the team. If a vice-captain is appointed, it is the duty of every member of the side to give him his fullest cooperation. There were a lot of rumours that there was some dissension among the players over Vaas' appointment, but I don't think anyone can be happy if he doesn't support that appointment."
A look back at five high-profile exhibition matches
Bide your time, put your body behind each delivery, and play with the batsman's mind