February 25, 2008

Sweat the small stuff

Sri Lanka have the ability but the execution has been lacking so far in the CB Series
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It hasn't been a memorable CB Series for Sri Lanka so far © Getty Images

Thankfully the IPL auction has not been a distraction for the Sri Lankans. Of course, some of us figured in the auction but the overall focus of the team has always remained the CB Series. Unfortunately, though, we seem to have faltered on certain fronts in our campaign. People might just be wondering what has happened to the team that reached the World Cup final.

The only thing that has changed from then is, we are not functioning well as a batting unit, and some of the players are a bit low on confidence - though no one is out of form.

There also seems to be a slight confusion in terms of individual gameplans. But overall the belief and the ability are the same, so it's again a question of finding an individual gameplan that is successful. Indidviduals need to learn their own games better so that they have a successful formula always in mind and fine-tune it to situations they face in the middle.

That ability to formulate a proper gameplan is critical. When you don't function as a batting unit, you lose wickets early, and that puts pressure on the middle order. And if the middle-order batters are also struggling a bit, you'll always be putting too much pressure on yourself attempting to come out of that situation. In contrast, when people are high on confidence, whatever the situation they are in, they have an instinctive idea of how to play. That's the sort of belief we should be having in ourselves at the moment. We have the ability; we just have to find a way of executing plans successfully out in the middle.

Personally, I take confidence in the way I am training a day before the game or in the week leading up to the game, and how I'm achieving what I want to achieve in practice. That gives me a lot of satisfaction and in turn confidence. I also believe very strongly in challenging myself in training and doing difficult things, because when you overcome those difficulties, you always have an overwhelming sense of confidence going into games. It doesn't guarantee success in games, but at least it gives you the base and the confidence needed to go out there and perform. That is the first step always.

Sri Lanka, as a team, have historically had the label of being unpredictable, but we are trying to change that and become consistent, so people know exactly what they are going to get from us - a very, very professional performance every single day.

The starting point is obviously in training, where you need to challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone. Players get confidence from the way they train, and the things they achieve in practice. Also from what they talk about in a team environment, what the attitude is in the dressing room, and the relationships they have with each other - the belief and trust they have. These are all factors that go into building confidence and are of vital importance in a team sport.

I wouldn't agree that our batting order has become weak. It looks worse than it is because there are more than one or two batsmen in the side who are going through lean periods. The pressure is compounded when the others get out to good balls. But the key is having the ability to scratch around and stay at the wicket and score, as Steve Waugh used to say, an "ugly" hundred.

Yes, we've struggled with finding a consistent opening pair. We had one in Upul Tharanga and Sanath Jayasuriya, but we haven't done well in that department on this tour. It's time we identified who we want to have as long-term openers and really trust those players to deliver and keep faith in them.

As for the rest of the batting order, we have some fantastic ODI cricketers, like Chamara Silva, who did well during the World Cup and since. Unfortunately, he's been going through a phase where he's short on confidence. Tillakaratne Dilshan, again, is a really good player. Mahela Jayawardene is in top form at the moment and he has been delivering consistently for years now and has been the batting lynchpin for Sri Lanka. Lower down we have Chamara Kapugedera, who I believe has the ability to become a really good cricketer; we need to keep faith in him. We've been looking for a fast-bowling allrounder for years and now Farveez Maharoof has emerged as the chosen one.

 
 
I believe very strongly in challenging myself in training and doing difficult things, because when you overcome those difficulties, you always have an overwhelming sense of confidence going into games
 

At the end of the day, everyone must carry their own weight and deserve their place in the side. As I said earlier, players must individually examine themselves and see whether they have the belief, commitment and hunger to not just get into the side, but more important, also stay in the side for long periods.

The youngsters have not been overwhelmed by the responsibility. They understand very well what they have to do. I'm a great believer in the senior players leading by example and making sure their performances are at a peak, so the youngsters see and follow those examples. That's the best thing in a team environment.

Preparation, both mental skills-wise and physically, is going to be very important if we are to perform better in the two remaining games than we have so far. Whether we win or not doesn't matter as much as doing the little things right, sticking to the basics, and getting the processes right so that the results take care of themselves. It's always good to go into a match thinking that you have to win it, but not without a process in place to achieve that result.

At the moment what we need to do is keep wickets in hand and bat for long periods of time. If we can get that right, we can come out of this difficult period and ensure that we don't go into a slump again.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Kaan on February 29, 2008, 2:43 GMT

    I must commend for Kumar's batting briliance. But overall, as a team, we need to improve a lot in all departments. I always consider Australia for their outstanding all round performance, especially fielding. Number of direct hits to wickets, is amazing & slip catches are treat to watch. SL need to get a few videos of their fielding & see how they are very positive in the field & preasure the batsmen all the time with direct hits. When compared, our team is by far from their standards.

    What we all need is bit more commitment & ability to play under preasure. I wish & pray, SL players will understand their shortcomings and try to play the game very positivly. I would love to see our guys beating (or at least challenging) Aussies on consistant basis. After all we have not beaten them for a while now...

  • time_is_up on February 29, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    1st of all, i think the coach has to go, he seems to not care about what is going on with the team (thats the picture im getting anyway), i never seen him talk or anything to try defending the team when they most need it, let alone the results hes achieved since taking over, hes a MUST GO!! for the good of the TEAM. (Hes had his honey moon period, now he should go back). Secondly, some of the players, must call it quits too, i know its easy said then done, but some of these players seem very lost to me and thats just simple facts, these players are not going to carry this team to future success like the next world cup, they are ageing and the team needs new fresh breed of players. Third and final point,, i dont see much hunger in the team, looking at their body languages they seem like they dont look to fight for their country, some dont seem worthy of wearing the national emblem simple as that if sri lankan players say otherwise, id say theyd be lieing. GD Luk in tha future series!

  • Evie on February 28, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Dear Kumar, you are my favourite cricketer in the world and everything, but please can you not make pre-tournament statements like 'Sri Lanka are one of the top 3 teams in the world'? Because it just doubles the humiliation of us SL supporters when our team performs in this manner. I'm not sure how anyone could even think of such a thing after the home series loss to England last year anyway. I don't think I've ever seen our team so abject in the whole time I've been watching cricket. Not sure if it's the departure of Tom Moody or what, but this is a very different team from the one that made the WC finals last year. You have been a true professional throughout this tournament and your efforts are much appreciated, but one man does not make a team. Did the others leave behind their pride in Sri Lanka? We bat like schoolchildren, we can't bowl a decent opposition out, and our fielding standards have dropped alarmingly. And to make things worse, we still have to face Australia on Friday!

  • ach82000 on February 28, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    I think our middle order is not strong enough to win matches under pressure situations.We can't expect Dilshan and Chamara to win matches for us like Dhoni and Symonds.Maximum they can do if we are 100-4, batting first they will get us 225. And we should not send Sanath to open the innings in Fast bouncy tracks.He should be sent in the middle order in Aus,SA.He hasn't done there and will never do,untill he finds a flat track.. And clearly mahela didn't do his duties well in this series.He was not innovative as he was in the WC.And didn't put enough pressure on new batsmans.

  • Thisara on February 28, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    First of all i would like to say 'Thank you Sanga for your great exhibition'.Obviously we have some problems with our middle order.I strongly believe that we don't need to do much changes to this team. But we need to have a spinner to the team.Coz spinnes are our strength.It is not good to depend on Murali much more.He've done all the thing to SL.Now Australia, India & SA trying to aim & attack to Murali.If we think about our future i think it is better to have Lokuarachchi in.Bandara doesn't have much time to improve, because he is now end of his 20's.It is good have a compare those two.Chamara Silva & Upul Tharanga must be out for couple of series until they came in to their typical form.we can take Udawatta or Lokuarachchi in & there is a possibility to train a good opener with Jayasuriya.I think Maharoof & Kapugedera have a good talent in facing the balls.I mean we can train those two as our next openers after the retirement of our hero,Jayasuriya.Maharoof would be a key player.

  • lankawa on February 27, 2008, 23:00 GMT

    Sri Lanka overall played very poor cricket - they deserve to lose. They need to realise that they need at least 5 world class bats to compete at top level - I think they have only 2. Also, need to smarten up their filed setting (captain). I think SL should have won 6th game against India and 7th game against Oz if they did that. Just replay the last 3 overs of that game against India. Malinga bowling to Harbajang - there was a risk of leaking runs behind the wicket. They gave away 7 valuable runs behind the wicket. 7th game against Oz - when Murali came in to bowl Ozs were 4 wickets down with a run rate of 2.7 something - with field restrictions. Field was spread and Muralis first over went for 6 runs. This is not rocket sceicne - all commentatros were bemused by SLs field settings. Had they restrictyed OZ to 170 SL would have won under DL. SL has to play smart cricket with skilld bats and bowlers overall if they are to compete against top teams.

  • Shafni_Salih on February 27, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Firstly i must say Sanga you played really well all hats to you & kept some hope for our Team. As all said earlier we need to bring young blood to the team & give them chance to grow, cuz it seems our teams depends on the big guys like, Jayasuriya, Vaas, Murali etc to do well as usual. Its time we come up as a whole team and each play their best at it. The Feilding is really improving, but batting is unpredictable, for instance in these matches we've seen our guys play wrong shots when its really not necessary at that situation. I really hope you guys will improve & make us proud :) cuz when you guys play its really enjoyable. Hope things change & get back to the winning times.

  • hafy on February 27, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    Sanga I do accept your fact its true. I feel we need a change in the batting department because it has failed during this tour (CR Series) specially Chamara Silva who didnt perform well in the bat and Dilshan he had couple of good matches but i guess he's out of form too. Except the middle order i guess we can have a good tail enders too like Malinga & Murali played well and got some partnership going on during the India match on the 26th Feb and those two players got well strokes i feel the coach and the responsible pepole in this should take a look in this. We need a good opening pair of batsmen too Sanath will perform well when he gets a good partner who keeps on scoring from the other end like we had during 1996 Sanath & Kalu those two were well balanced we would like to see someone like that coming with Sanath. We Wish to see some exciting cricket coming from our home country Sri Lanka Good Luck....

  • mcji5sa2 on February 27, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    To some extent I have to disagree with sanga's comments. I understand that as a current player addressing the public you have to reassure fans, but I hope I'm not the only one who sees the team's problems are far greater than stated here. A simple stat - since 2007 world cup final, sri lanka hav won only 7 out of the 18 games played to date (inlcuding series losses to pakistan & england). The problem is far greater than jst a loss of confidence with some of the players. As a result of the slump I would say the confidence is low and is prolonging the period of the slump, but is definetely not the reason for the slump. this may be the best time to try out new young players. the domestic province system needs to be given more exposure as this is the best way to give new blood a chance to play against the best. the problem with the team at the moment is that so much reliance has gone into the senior players, not only is the team not performing now, but youth is also given little exposure.

  • Cannuck on February 27, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    Hey Sanga, the guys confidence was low for sure which couldn't have been fixed with one solid win. We missed few opportunities when we had Aussies restricted to 236 & you were left hanging. But in my opinion we also made a mistake in choosing the side. We relied too much on specialist bowlers, playing 5 all the time, which weakened our middle order. We should have played Tharanga or Dilruwan at the top & drop Dilshan to lower order to strengthen that area. As for bowlers, the biggest mistake Mahela did was (& I hate to second guess him as we share the same alma mater) stop bowling Kapugedara after the second match. If the guy was good enough to bowl 10 overs @ 5.4 against Aussies, & 6 overs @ 3.4, how come he wasn't good enough on Match #8 against India when Maharoof tanked big time? Mahela tried Dilshan & Sana for 3 overs for a higher run rate & we lost in the last over. I think a win like that could have turned the tide around for us. We aren't that far off being a solid team!

  • Kaan on February 29, 2008, 2:43 GMT

    I must commend for Kumar's batting briliance. But overall, as a team, we need to improve a lot in all departments. I always consider Australia for their outstanding all round performance, especially fielding. Number of direct hits to wickets, is amazing & slip catches are treat to watch. SL need to get a few videos of their fielding & see how they are very positive in the field & preasure the batsmen all the time with direct hits. When compared, our team is by far from their standards.

    What we all need is bit more commitment & ability to play under preasure. I wish & pray, SL players will understand their shortcomings and try to play the game very positivly. I would love to see our guys beating (or at least challenging) Aussies on consistant basis. After all we have not beaten them for a while now...

  • time_is_up on February 29, 2008, 1:13 GMT

    1st of all, i think the coach has to go, he seems to not care about what is going on with the team (thats the picture im getting anyway), i never seen him talk or anything to try defending the team when they most need it, let alone the results hes achieved since taking over, hes a MUST GO!! for the good of the TEAM. (Hes had his honey moon period, now he should go back). Secondly, some of the players, must call it quits too, i know its easy said then done, but some of these players seem very lost to me and thats just simple facts, these players are not going to carry this team to future success like the next world cup, they are ageing and the team needs new fresh breed of players. Third and final point,, i dont see much hunger in the team, looking at their body languages they seem like they dont look to fight for their country, some dont seem worthy of wearing the national emblem simple as that if sri lankan players say otherwise, id say theyd be lieing. GD Luk in tha future series!

  • Evie on February 28, 2008, 15:21 GMT

    Dear Kumar, you are my favourite cricketer in the world and everything, but please can you not make pre-tournament statements like 'Sri Lanka are one of the top 3 teams in the world'? Because it just doubles the humiliation of us SL supporters when our team performs in this manner. I'm not sure how anyone could even think of such a thing after the home series loss to England last year anyway. I don't think I've ever seen our team so abject in the whole time I've been watching cricket. Not sure if it's the departure of Tom Moody or what, but this is a very different team from the one that made the WC finals last year. You have been a true professional throughout this tournament and your efforts are much appreciated, but one man does not make a team. Did the others leave behind their pride in Sri Lanka? We bat like schoolchildren, we can't bowl a decent opposition out, and our fielding standards have dropped alarmingly. And to make things worse, we still have to face Australia on Friday!

  • ach82000 on February 28, 2008, 13:11 GMT

    I think our middle order is not strong enough to win matches under pressure situations.We can't expect Dilshan and Chamara to win matches for us like Dhoni and Symonds.Maximum they can do if we are 100-4, batting first they will get us 225. And we should not send Sanath to open the innings in Fast bouncy tracks.He should be sent in the middle order in Aus,SA.He hasn't done there and will never do,untill he finds a flat track.. And clearly mahela didn't do his duties well in this series.He was not innovative as he was in the WC.And didn't put enough pressure on new batsmans.

  • Thisara on February 28, 2008, 11:35 GMT

    First of all i would like to say 'Thank you Sanga for your great exhibition'.Obviously we have some problems with our middle order.I strongly believe that we don't need to do much changes to this team. But we need to have a spinner to the team.Coz spinnes are our strength.It is not good to depend on Murali much more.He've done all the thing to SL.Now Australia, India & SA trying to aim & attack to Murali.If we think about our future i think it is better to have Lokuarachchi in.Bandara doesn't have much time to improve, because he is now end of his 20's.It is good have a compare those two.Chamara Silva & Upul Tharanga must be out for couple of series until they came in to their typical form.we can take Udawatta or Lokuarachchi in & there is a possibility to train a good opener with Jayasuriya.I think Maharoof & Kapugedera have a good talent in facing the balls.I mean we can train those two as our next openers after the retirement of our hero,Jayasuriya.Maharoof would be a key player.

  • lankawa on February 27, 2008, 23:00 GMT

    Sri Lanka overall played very poor cricket - they deserve to lose. They need to realise that they need at least 5 world class bats to compete at top level - I think they have only 2. Also, need to smarten up their filed setting (captain). I think SL should have won 6th game against India and 7th game against Oz if they did that. Just replay the last 3 overs of that game against India. Malinga bowling to Harbajang - there was a risk of leaking runs behind the wicket. They gave away 7 valuable runs behind the wicket. 7th game against Oz - when Murali came in to bowl Ozs were 4 wickets down with a run rate of 2.7 something - with field restrictions. Field was spread and Muralis first over went for 6 runs. This is not rocket sceicne - all commentatros were bemused by SLs field settings. Had they restrictyed OZ to 170 SL would have won under DL. SL has to play smart cricket with skilld bats and bowlers overall if they are to compete against top teams.

  • Shafni_Salih on February 27, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Firstly i must say Sanga you played really well all hats to you & kept some hope for our Team. As all said earlier we need to bring young blood to the team & give them chance to grow, cuz it seems our teams depends on the big guys like, Jayasuriya, Vaas, Murali etc to do well as usual. Its time we come up as a whole team and each play their best at it. The Feilding is really improving, but batting is unpredictable, for instance in these matches we've seen our guys play wrong shots when its really not necessary at that situation. I really hope you guys will improve & make us proud :) cuz when you guys play its really enjoyable. Hope things change & get back to the winning times.

  • hafy on February 27, 2008, 17:28 GMT

    Sanga I do accept your fact its true. I feel we need a change in the batting department because it has failed during this tour (CR Series) specially Chamara Silva who didnt perform well in the bat and Dilshan he had couple of good matches but i guess he's out of form too. Except the middle order i guess we can have a good tail enders too like Malinga & Murali played well and got some partnership going on during the India match on the 26th Feb and those two players got well strokes i feel the coach and the responsible pepole in this should take a look in this. We need a good opening pair of batsmen too Sanath will perform well when he gets a good partner who keeps on scoring from the other end like we had during 1996 Sanath & Kalu those two were well balanced we would like to see someone like that coming with Sanath. We Wish to see some exciting cricket coming from our home country Sri Lanka Good Luck....

  • mcji5sa2 on February 27, 2008, 13:43 GMT

    To some extent I have to disagree with sanga's comments. I understand that as a current player addressing the public you have to reassure fans, but I hope I'm not the only one who sees the team's problems are far greater than stated here. A simple stat - since 2007 world cup final, sri lanka hav won only 7 out of the 18 games played to date (inlcuding series losses to pakistan & england). The problem is far greater than jst a loss of confidence with some of the players. As a result of the slump I would say the confidence is low and is prolonging the period of the slump, but is definetely not the reason for the slump. this may be the best time to try out new young players. the domestic province system needs to be given more exposure as this is the best way to give new blood a chance to play against the best. the problem with the team at the moment is that so much reliance has gone into the senior players, not only is the team not performing now, but youth is also given little exposure.

  • Cannuck on February 27, 2008, 4:13 GMT

    Hey Sanga, the guys confidence was low for sure which couldn't have been fixed with one solid win. We missed few opportunities when we had Aussies restricted to 236 & you were left hanging. But in my opinion we also made a mistake in choosing the side. We relied too much on specialist bowlers, playing 5 all the time, which weakened our middle order. We should have played Tharanga or Dilruwan at the top & drop Dilshan to lower order to strengthen that area. As for bowlers, the biggest mistake Mahela did was (& I hate to second guess him as we share the same alma mater) stop bowling Kapugedara after the second match. If the guy was good enough to bowl 10 overs @ 5.4 against Aussies, & 6 overs @ 3.4, how come he wasn't good enough on Match #8 against India when Maharoof tanked big time? Mahela tried Dilshan & Sana for 3 overs for a higher run rate & we lost in the last over. I think a win like that could have turned the tide around for us. We aren't that far off being a solid team!

  • ghtvnath on February 27, 2008, 2:05 GMT

    Hi Sanga, Great we have a player like you.How about Maharoof opening with someone like D.Perera or Udawatta and Jayasuriya playing no.6.

  • ShawnB on February 27, 2008, 0:33 GMT

    This is just another typical Kumar Sangakkara article full of rhetoric and excuses that I come to expect from our vice-captain these days. It is not a secret that he is one of the best batsmen in test cricket; however, he hasn't done well enough in the pajama version of the game thus far. The disparity between the averages would clearly indicate the difficulties he had in the shorter version of the game, and also his strike rate is noticeably lower compared with the best in the business. All three centuries he made in ODI cricket have resulted in Sri Lankan losses so far, and it is safe to say that he is not the genuine match winner that some people have been lead to believe. Both Mahela and Kumar are very good at handling media and talking a good game.

  • Daiya on February 26, 2008, 23:39 GMT

    Sri Lanka have the talent, but they just dont utilize it. I would like to see the likes of Tharanga, Mahroof, and Kapugedara get more exposure. It was a good time to blend youth and experience on this tour. Instead our selectors dropped all three of them at some point. I think Kapugedara should have slotted between Mahela and Sanga in the batting line up. This would have given him a chance to play a long innings; to actually build an innings. With Mahela dropping down to 5. Instead he batted at 7, where there was immense pressure when we were less than 100 for 5, or 6 wickets down. This just puts too much pressure on him. However, he did prove to everyone that he has all the strokes and talent in the last game against india. He bowled well in the prior games, but did not get the opportunity once we played 5 bowlers. I cannot understand this situation. He is good enough to be the fifth bowler (when we play 4) but is not good enough to come and bowl a few overs when we play 5?

  • DineshIyer on February 26, 2008, 18:33 GMT

    I think SL cricket needs to start finding younger players. Sanath, Murali and Vaas are getting old and they need good consistent backups. People like Silva and Dilshan havent been consistent. I am not a big fan of SL cricket esp test cricket but they need to improve. I do however have a problem with Sangakara writing an opinion column about a team that he is a part of in a series that he is playing!

  • auggie on February 26, 2008, 17:51 GMT

    This is almost the same team that went into the WC final. Whats lacking is consistency and an inspiring coach. Since Bayliss came on to the scene SL have been more often on the losing side than not. Murali champion bowler that he is(was?) is a passenger in the ODI team. Of late he cannot get wickets in ODI's, and hardly troubles batsmen. Besides, he cant bat! Murali will continue to dazzle in test cricket and perhaps play only tests. A bowler who can bat a bit is needed. Same for batting legend Jayasuriya. At his best he could produce fast and brilliant scores in every third match or so. Now he delivers in every 6th match approx which can cost an ODI series. Having said that, there is nobody in sight to replace him! So he has to be kept on, and one can only hope he will catch fire more often. Tharanga dazzled at the start but faded away. Chamara Silva has got to get counseling of some kind to sort out why he cant score anymore. Again, what is the coach, Bayliss doing for his salary?

  • auggie on February 26, 2008, 17:51 GMT

    This is almost the same team that went into the WC final. Whats lacking is consistency and an inspiring coach. Since Bayliss came on to the scene SL have been more often on the losing side than not. Murali champion bowler that he is(was?) is a passenger in the ODI team. Of late he cannot get wickets in ODI's, and hardly troubles batsmen. Besides, he cant bat! Murali will continue to dazzle in test cricket and perhaps play only tests. A bowler who can bat a bit is needed. Same for batting legend Jayasuriya. At his best he could produce fast and brilliant scores in every third match or so. Now he delivers in every 6th match approx which can cost an ODI series. Having said that, there is nobody in sight to replace him! So he has to be kept on, and one can only hope he will catch fire more often. Tharanga dazzled at the start but faded away. Chamara Silva has got to get counseling of some kind to sort out why he cant score anymore. Again, what is the coach, Bayliss doing for his salary?

  • SouthAFRICA_r_champions on February 26, 2008, 17:18 GMT

    Well, well, well, how the "mighty" have fallen. Perhaps it wouldn't be such a let-down if you hadn't delared the CB Series was the equivalent to a "World Championship". First of all, it's no.1, 2 and 3. It's no.1, 4 and 6. Sorry, but the last time I checked, South Africa were no.2

    Rajesh, Durban.

  • Timothy_anthony on February 26, 2008, 12:52 GMT

    I agree with kumar somewhat. Sri Lanka needs to find capable young players like India and give them a chance to perform well. Changing the players for every single tournaments and matches will not help Sri Lanka to find the better players. For example let the young Maroof play his game every match. Dropping him every other match will put his confidence down. He can be a very good all rounder with bat and ball. Mahela will start thinking about his position in ODI. Young Kappu needs some experience and confidence. I am a viewer, think good about Sri Lanka Cricket, hope Sri Lanka will come up with the better plans in the future. Good Luck.

  • DONSILVA on February 26, 2008, 12:43 GMT

    Great article! However the same is not completed in view that Sangakkara has nothing mentioned about the captaincy. The captaincy and the team selection through the serious were absolutely poor. The Captain has made wrong selections throughout his carrier too and luckily due to the great support from Mr Arjuna he has managed escape in crucial circumstance where Suresh perera has paid the price .I feel with the set up , there is a huge vacuum has been crated by Marvan , if he was there with the current form at least we would have won least 2 concluded matches .The captain took the lead in the world cup and showed his brightness by dropping him and allowing him to leave the cricket early .Similar thing he has done to Vass in Ausi saying " This is not the most difficult discussion in my Like " took the revenge for his pervious "vice captaincy" .Now I thing the time has come for you to take the hierarchy .Good luck .

  • Chumi2711 on February 26, 2008, 12:18 GMT

    hey I'm a crazy fan of Sri Lanka cricket.Kumar,as you said,our bowling performance has been upto the mark.I just cant understand why Sri Lanka is not playin like Sri Lanka.It's like the brand of cricket which Bangladesh or Zimbabwe would play.There is no doubt in the ability but where is 'consistency'?I see only Kumar and Mahela contributing some runs throughout the series,whats up with the other batsmen?How come sanath has not blasted as yet?We still did not witness a winning performance by SriLanka.knowing that the whole responsibility is on Kumar and Mahela,how can you'll afford to play careless shots?After Mahela and Kumar are out,the other batsmen do not seem like taking the responsibilty.so,when Sanath,Kumar and Mahela are out,we cant expect a victory.And everytime you'll go for the big ones,my heart skips a beat....Its been a long time since Sri Lanka won against Australia,hope our batsmen atleast give us that happiness in the last game against Australia on 29th.

  • derrida on February 26, 2008, 9:18 GMT

    Srilanka's main concern is at peresent their batting. Apart from kumar nobody is getting near to their potential(if any?). In bowling also vaas has only limited period. Muralidaran's capacity to strike whenever necessary is fading little by little, that too in alien conditions. They must bring in left arm spinner Herath and a legspinner. After sanath there is no opener in their team. Instead of trying new face they can bet on upul tharanga. Ya, Srilanka has to work out lot of things. First of alla avoid foreign coaches, especially australian coaches. They cannot understand the sublime talent inside a country.

  • Wannabekenobi on February 26, 2008, 8:47 GMT

    I would like yo inquire as to why Maharoof isnt getting the same exposure that Irfan Pathan gets? Pathan wasnt known in the beginning for his batting but once he was noted for it, Indian team just kept promoting him higher and higher up the order. We have a decent all-rounder in Maharoof, but he may never become a proper one if his batting isnt given enough exposure! I disagree to the fact that he isnt a good enough batsman, he has a good technique, has all the shots, he needs to be exposed. We are the only team lacking the complete fast bowling all rounder. Bangladesh has Mashrafe, Englands got Flintoff and Luke Wright, Australias got Watson and Hopes, India's got Pathan, New Zealands got Oram, South Africa's got Kallis, West Indies has Bravo, Pakistan had Razzak, but there are many in the queue including the current U-19 squad members of 2008. We have the resources, we just arent putting them to use and we have a serious problem in selecting "smart" cricketers. Performance+smart=good

  • Wannabekenobi on February 26, 2008, 8:38 GMT

    Hello Sanga, I am indeed embarrassed about the way our country has fared this series, It was a great anticlimax, the top 3 teams in the world meeting head to head, and then hopes dashed as if the top 2 teams were playing with a minnow, i keep trying to come up with reasons for the dismal performance but nothing seems right. Whatever the reason, be it management, coaching, training, instilling young blood or politics i haven't the slightest clue, may be its all of the above, the fans and patriots have been let down and our faith in you has been rattled. Some of us have only cricket as entertainment to look forward to, the country's situation is a grave concern and worsening by the day both economically and safety concerns, yet we find the time to cheer you on, watching you playing your heart out and making us proud. I am a Sri Lankan, always will be, Love the game or like you, living it, dont let us down, keep fighting, we will be with you till the end! PS:Sachith Pathirana-get him soon

  • sharif13 on February 26, 2008, 7:53 GMT

    Great respects to the intelligent and gracious cricketer kumar sangakara is .I feet he has voiced the most accurate observation of the srilankan team in the past one year .I fully agree that the srilankan team has the potential to be a world beater ,but there is no where to go without self-confidence and cricket without conviction ,i feel these two components are missing in many players like dilshan , silva ,mahroof after the world cup,looks like the team has not yet come over the world cup finals.I have repeatedly watched the world cup matches and can easily notice a dramatic change in body language in the sri lankan batsmen right now as opposed to what it was then , can one believe this it was the same team? yes this is what a team can look like without self belief and conviction .It was conviction that brought the world cup home for ranatungas team .I cannot agree more with sanga that the team needs to accept this , acknowledge this and act upon it " SELF CONFIDENCE & CONVICTION"

  • crpan1 on February 26, 2008, 1:44 GMT

    Hi,

    I am a huge fan of Sri Lanka Cricket. I live in melbourne and our guys have really let us down. Kumar is the only guy in the batting linie up that plays with a bit of pride. At least give a fight... The way you guys are loosing is shameful to every one. You guys are here to have a great time while socialising... at least give the people that are treating you'll some thing to cheer about. Do it at least becuase you get paid a pcket of money, if you cant do it for the fans and the country. You'll play as if its not your problem. Grow a spine and play with some pride.

  • El-Mucho-Grande on February 25, 2008, 22:58 GMT

    I agree with you Kumar. As a fellow Sri Lankan I had a lot of expectation from this Sri Lankan team coming out and playing competetively and maybe even take our rightful place as the number 1 ODI team. But after the poor batting performances of late I realise that dream is still far away. If Sri Lankan cricket is ever going to become as good as Australian cricket we need to have a good cricket academy set up,so that when a player is not perfoming we are able bring a youngster in to the mix, with all the confidence and preparation required to perform. Our bowlers have been superb on this tour, full credit should go to them. No one should take anything away from them. With Lasith, Murali, Vaas & maharoof we have the most dynamic mix of any Test playing nation in terms of bowlers. What we need to do is start playing to our potential on every front. A "never say die" attitude should be present. Sri Lankans live with the fear of death everyday, we need to become the fear of our opposition.

  • futurecaptainofindia on February 25, 2008, 20:07 GMT

    Sangakarra, no doubt is a great orator & perfectly capable of forming cogent arguments. But his comments off-late have begun to appear more like cover-ups & alibis for Sri Lanka's below-par performances on the field. He has always been known for making emphatic statements - he did so pre & post the Test battering at the hands of the Aussies as well - but his team must live up to the stands he takes, else his word in the media might just lose significance. He is an excellent thinker & strategist, besides being a cricketer of the highest caliber, but stands to gain nothing if Sri Lanka is unable to wrest this poor run. They have achieved absolutely nothing of any significance in a year since WC '07 - bar a Test win vs Eng at home. I have been a fan of Sri for a while, but they have disappointed fat too often

  • Ravint on February 25, 2008, 19:14 GMT

    Hi Sanga, Nice article as ever from you. I am a Sri Lankan living in Canada. I am a strong supporter of SL Team. I am so disapointed like every other SriLankan about our Teams perfomance. Where is that partnership now? We don't have partnership building that we saw in the last world cup. Where is that clinical effort in batting now as we did in the World cup? Team wins only when Sanath fires. Other wise when Sanga or Mahela performs extraordinary team wins. We should change this. Build partnerships. Thats what Australians does to remain in that position. Ponting, Hayden and Symonds didn't perfom well but Clark and Hussey did the Job for them by partnerships. Do we do that when our best batsmen fail? NO. Everyone slump and the result is the same. So sad. Anyways try hard, as you said do the basics right and fight as much as possible , play your best cricket. I don't care if you lose after playing to your maximum potencial. All the best to SL Team.

    Rav. Toronto

  • -Hilal- on February 25, 2008, 17:42 GMT

    Kumar am I wrong in saying that on tours to Australia the players must have some family presence with them? I just feel blokes like Chamara will feel more at home with his wife and kids around him. We have to identify individual mentalities and reassure them accordingly; We must provide a calming influence especially on overwhelming tours such as Australia. I think Moody was spot on with the introduction of a sports psychologist.

    We have no doubt in the ability of some of our blokes it's the mind frame I question. I hope the team hasn't forgotten that our sucesses in the past have stemmed from having a great time and enjoying our cricket.

  • Shukry on February 25, 2008, 13:49 GMT

    surely, your the only sub-continent player will have an high average in Australia,and really mahela is in top form but he is used to play that ugly shot and get out...sanath he's a genuine match winner.so surely he has to fire for Sri lanka, If we are to go through to the finals....for me giving Silva another chance is a risk..why can't we open the Batting with Kapugedera, where he has got his only fifty in ODI in that position... or why can't you(sanga)and mahela drop one position below so that our middle order will be some what stable....All The Best for the rest of the series

  • abujamaal on February 25, 2008, 13:16 GMT

    I appreciate Kumar's comments, but frankly I think it is down to one major problem at the moment...Sri Lanka do not appear to have the personnel to compete consistently with the major teams. With Jayasuriya losing his dominance, Sri Lanka will be hard pressed to challenge the best teams. They cannot really on Kumar and mahela always.... Bowling wise, they have a good mix and skillful executioners...but batting...the future does not look so good in this department...but hey...prove me wrong!

  • Ellis on February 25, 2008, 13:07 GMT

    Kumar, few people can disagree with your approach, consistency and success. Put simply, after the Sanga/Mahela show it is the Randoli Perehera as far as the batting is concerned. Promise and expectations need to be fulfilled. Taking positives out of continual negative situations is marvellous, but to put it in Sinhalese " positives malla pirila, dinung malla hiss". There is clearly a lack of individual batting plans amongst most of the batsmen. But how come, given all of them have significant international experience? I think it comes down to a question of committment and pride in wearing the Sri Lanka shirt.Some batsmen are in a comfort zone having reached the national team and do not put out. Two of the losses to Australia and India clearly showed a lack of committment and nous.To my mind, Sri Lanka should be in the top three fielding sides in the world. It is not. Why?The bowling too is questionable, particularly in the death overs. Platitudes over, action needed, let's get real.

  • zingzangspillip on February 25, 2008, 12:10 GMT

    Farveez Maharoof is not an allrounder! He is a decent lower order hitter, but that is all. If Sri Lanka were five down for 100 runs, I would not want Maharoof coming in with 25 overs to bat. If he is expected to play at No. 7 for Sri Lanka, he needs to improve his batting majorly. When you compare Maharoof's batting with James Hopes' in the same position, there is no comparison. Hopes opens the batting for his state. Can Maharoof say the same thing?

  • Swithin on February 25, 2008, 11:37 GMT

    I wonder what this guy is about. SL keep getting whacked which is purely due to their "lack of ability" to perform in alien conditions against superior opposition(read as any team other than Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, i believe even the under performing Windies would blow them away in such conditions). If SL realize their short comings and work towards sorting that out it would do them a lot of good instead of still continuing to believe that they have the ability but are failing in the execution. Wake up Sanga!! Wake up!!

  • Pravski on February 25, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    I think credit should also go to the Sri Lankan bowlers. Although Murali hasn't been at his best, Vaas, Malinga, Maharoof and Amarasinghe are a formidable pace attack. Sri Lanka should take a lesson from the way Ponting, Hayden, Symonds and Uthappa played yesterday. They found form by playing positive cricket and refusing to be tied down. I hope to see Jayasuriya, Silva and others playing in this fashion tomorrow. Also Kumar, if you are reading this, congratulations on your performance so far. The way you built that 128 vs India at Adelaide was something really special to watch after battling early on.

  • Thomas_Raj on February 25, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka must identify its consistent failure of openers. It may be possible that pressure at the begining may be too much for the regular openers!! Or it may also be that they severely lack confidence. Judging by the conduct this seems more likely. In this case it is imperative that SL use low profile batsmen to open the innings, nevermind their inexperience at the top order.

    Dilruwan is, to put it in usual Sri Lankan style, useless. Tharanga should be included. Giving a promotion to Maharoof is not a bad idea.

    Chamara Silva needs a real heart-to-heart talk with a confidente to either address his 'attitude' related problem or his 'confidence' related issue. There is no point in playing a Russel Arnold type game with even slower pace.

    Bringing Mahela and Kumar to the crease at the same time is too risky and instead of Mahela someone else should come. This can prolong the staying power as Chamara silva lacks the leadership skills to guide the middle order.

  • kugan on February 25, 2008, 11:25 GMT

    I think SL team should focus onthe next world cup(2011). For that, we should develop younger players. We stop all domastic school competitons due to local security proplems. One third of our country is unable to see even a turf pitch in their town\ village. Then, how we develop younger players. I can not see any sign of improving srilankan cricket without solving these proplems. I feel it is already too late.

  • WPDDESILVA on February 25, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    Nice article to defend the team but u cannot cover the reality.I firmly believe that Upul Tharanga and Chamara Silva are very good talents but currently they're on a bad run (Thankgod upuls droppped).I truly don't understand why Kapugedara plays for Sri Lanka...u say we have to have faith on him but fans don't spend thousands of money just to come and see a pathetic batting performance and say "OH, it's ok - we have to have faith on Chamara Kapugedara".How can we have faith on them when they play like this?? I've been also following the provincial matches inside SL and I haven't seen Kapugedara performing in one of those matches and also Tharanga! If someone keeps failing one after the other then i hardly see a good result in the future, also it's sad to see when sri lanka loose 5 wickets in a match Farveez Maharoof coming into the pitch as a all rounder!! We had a wonderful No 7 batsman Russell Arnold and I don't think we'll have another genuine No 6/7 batsman for a long time.

  • mechanic on February 25, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Well, doubtful wether IPL has not totally effected, million dollar man himself initially showed some signs of IPL syndrom. Anyhow we love you guys you are our heroes, just one or two things not going right at the momment. What is always baffling is why we keep failing so dearly against the Aussies, unarguably, they are the number one team in the world, but that should not put them so invincible yet it looks as if they are so to us. Deffinitly agree we do not lack ability, part of consistancy failure against Aussies is more consistant than anything else, salute to you for the character you have shown in CB series apart from that no one really stood up to the challenge so far. I think more than anything it is the mentality and bit of underestimating the abilty of the opponent, like they play safe with Muruly we should do same with Bracken and above all we are either too aggressive or too defensive, got to find the middle path. As a fan hope you guys find the rythem soon.

  • Sri-Lankan_Lion on February 25, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Hi Sangakka, I am a good of yours and well done in the series so far. You have been an outstanding batsman but with the team, I think there needs to be some changes espicially with the opening pairs. Jayasuriya was a good batsman once and he is performing but it's once in a while now. When he gets out quickly the other batsman loses faith. I think the partners should have confidence in each other which is lacking in the Sri-Lankan opening. I think it is time for Jayasuriya to retire, in a good time. I would not like to see him go in a bat performance he is not such a player. If the opening clicks then it will be good batting line for the Lankans.

  • tinker on February 25, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Sri Lanka lack the class and depth of the top one day teams like Australia.

    Sangakarra sanath and mahela are world class players but unless those three dot he job Sri Lanka are in big trouble.

    To take that next level you need to have 6 guys who can score tons like Australia have.

    Added to that murali has been handled with consummate ease by these two teams.

  • LasithTheSlinga on February 25, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    Well said Kumar, I totally agree we have bowled personally the best we could have bowled, probably one of the best bowling attacks we've had ever i feel. The likes of Vaas, Malinga,Maharoof,Ishara and we have back up fast men like Welegedera,Fernando etc.So I feel thats covered i just think our middle order batting has lost form other than that i think we are force to be reckened with watch out Australia and India were still in it.

  • vaji on February 25, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    Really feel sorry for sanga as he cant go out there and play his natural game because of the pressure that he's in due to the lack in performace of others.Think Sri lanka has given too many chances for players such as chamara silva, tharanga, maharoof and dilshan. They have been patient for years now. Look at the players such as uttapa, gambhir &sharma of india! S.L do have good players and it was shown in the provincial tournament and none of the above mentioned S.L players performed well enough to warrant selection. I hope the selectors will look in to players such as udawatte,Shanuka Dissanayake, Mirando, Weeraratne & Chinthaka Jayasinghe. The last three mentioned were beautifully utilised by sanga in the domestic tournament and out smarted all opposition. They may have their weaknesses but with exposure towards better coaching, will improve. Dilruwan Perera is not the answer to any position. I think the selectors will have to get out of their "comfort players zone" first.

  • abhi000007 on February 25, 2008, 3:49 GMT

    How wonderful a thought process ! No wonder Sangakarra is currently one of the best batsmen in the world.

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  • abhi000007 on February 25, 2008, 3:49 GMT

    How wonderful a thought process ! No wonder Sangakarra is currently one of the best batsmen in the world.

  • vaji on February 25, 2008, 6:02 GMT

    Really feel sorry for sanga as he cant go out there and play his natural game because of the pressure that he's in due to the lack in performace of others.Think Sri lanka has given too many chances for players such as chamara silva, tharanga, maharoof and dilshan. They have been patient for years now. Look at the players such as uttapa, gambhir &sharma of india! S.L do have good players and it was shown in the provincial tournament and none of the above mentioned S.L players performed well enough to warrant selection. I hope the selectors will look in to players such as udawatte,Shanuka Dissanayake, Mirando, Weeraratne & Chinthaka Jayasinghe. The last three mentioned were beautifully utilised by sanga in the domestic tournament and out smarted all opposition. They may have their weaknesses but with exposure towards better coaching, will improve. Dilruwan Perera is not the answer to any position. I think the selectors will have to get out of their "comfort players zone" first.

  • LasithTheSlinga on February 25, 2008, 6:18 GMT

    Well said Kumar, I totally agree we have bowled personally the best we could have bowled, probably one of the best bowling attacks we've had ever i feel. The likes of Vaas, Malinga,Maharoof,Ishara and we have back up fast men like Welegedera,Fernando etc.So I feel thats covered i just think our middle order batting has lost form other than that i think we are force to be reckened with watch out Australia and India were still in it.

  • tinker on February 25, 2008, 8:04 GMT

    Sri Lanka lack the class and depth of the top one day teams like Australia.

    Sangakarra sanath and mahela are world class players but unless those three dot he job Sri Lanka are in big trouble.

    To take that next level you need to have 6 guys who can score tons like Australia have.

    Added to that murali has been handled with consummate ease by these two teams.

  • Sri-Lankan_Lion on February 25, 2008, 9:01 GMT

    Hi Sangakka, I am a good of yours and well done in the series so far. You have been an outstanding batsman but with the team, I think there needs to be some changes espicially with the opening pairs. Jayasuriya was a good batsman once and he is performing but it's once in a while now. When he gets out quickly the other batsman loses faith. I think the partners should have confidence in each other which is lacking in the Sri-Lankan opening. I think it is time for Jayasuriya to retire, in a good time. I would not like to see him go in a bat performance he is not such a player. If the opening clicks then it will be good batting line for the Lankans.

  • mechanic on February 25, 2008, 9:36 GMT

    Well, doubtful wether IPL has not totally effected, million dollar man himself initially showed some signs of IPL syndrom. Anyhow we love you guys you are our heroes, just one or two things not going right at the momment. What is always baffling is why we keep failing so dearly against the Aussies, unarguably, they are the number one team in the world, but that should not put them so invincible yet it looks as if they are so to us. Deffinitly agree we do not lack ability, part of consistancy failure against Aussies is more consistant than anything else, salute to you for the character you have shown in CB series apart from that no one really stood up to the challenge so far. I think more than anything it is the mentality and bit of underestimating the abilty of the opponent, like they play safe with Muruly we should do same with Bracken and above all we are either too aggressive or too defensive, got to find the middle path. As a fan hope you guys find the rythem soon.

  • WPDDESILVA on February 25, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    Nice article to defend the team but u cannot cover the reality.I firmly believe that Upul Tharanga and Chamara Silva are very good talents but currently they're on a bad run (Thankgod upuls droppped).I truly don't understand why Kapugedara plays for Sri Lanka...u say we have to have faith on him but fans don't spend thousands of money just to come and see a pathetic batting performance and say "OH, it's ok - we have to have faith on Chamara Kapugedara".How can we have faith on them when they play like this?? I've been also following the provincial matches inside SL and I haven't seen Kapugedara performing in one of those matches and also Tharanga! If someone keeps failing one after the other then i hardly see a good result in the future, also it's sad to see when sri lanka loose 5 wickets in a match Farveez Maharoof coming into the pitch as a all rounder!! We had a wonderful No 7 batsman Russell Arnold and I don't think we'll have another genuine No 6/7 batsman for a long time.

  • kugan on February 25, 2008, 11:25 GMT

    I think SL team should focus onthe next world cup(2011). For that, we should develop younger players. We stop all domastic school competitons due to local security proplems. One third of our country is unable to see even a turf pitch in their town\ village. Then, how we develop younger players. I can not see any sign of improving srilankan cricket without solving these proplems. I feel it is already too late.

  • Thomas_Raj on February 25, 2008, 11:31 GMT

    Sri Lanka must identify its consistent failure of openers. It may be possible that pressure at the begining may be too much for the regular openers!! Or it may also be that they severely lack confidence. Judging by the conduct this seems more likely. In this case it is imperative that SL use low profile batsmen to open the innings, nevermind their inexperience at the top order.

    Dilruwan is, to put it in usual Sri Lankan style, useless. Tharanga should be included. Giving a promotion to Maharoof is not a bad idea.

    Chamara Silva needs a real heart-to-heart talk with a confidente to either address his 'attitude' related problem or his 'confidence' related issue. There is no point in playing a Russel Arnold type game with even slower pace.

    Bringing Mahela and Kumar to the crease at the same time is too risky and instead of Mahela someone else should come. This can prolong the staying power as Chamara silva lacks the leadership skills to guide the middle order.

  • Pravski on February 25, 2008, 11:36 GMT

    I think credit should also go to the Sri Lankan bowlers. Although Murali hasn't been at his best, Vaas, Malinga, Maharoof and Amarasinghe are a formidable pace attack. Sri Lanka should take a lesson from the way Ponting, Hayden, Symonds and Uthappa played yesterday. They found form by playing positive cricket and refusing to be tied down. I hope to see Jayasuriya, Silva and others playing in this fashion tomorrow. Also Kumar, if you are reading this, congratulations on your performance so far. The way you built that 128 vs India at Adelaide was something really special to watch after battling early on.