Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2011-12 November 24, 2011

Jayasuriya calls for persistence with young team


Sanath Jayasuriya, the former Sri Lanka captain, has said Sri Lanka need to maintain faith in their young side and new captain despite the team's recent rough patch. Since reaching the final of the 2011 World Cup, Sri Lanka have lost one-day and Test series in England, at home to Australia and against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. Jayasuriya admitted results had been disappointing but said Sri Lanka were in transition since they have a new captain in Tillakaratne Dilshan, a new coach in Geoff Marsh and several young players in the squad.

"It's a bit disappointing to lose both the series," Jayasuriya said after the losses in the UAE. "It would have been ideal had we won at least one series. However, Sri Lanka are playing a number of youngsters so you need to give them some time. You can't keep changing the side. There are quite a few senior players and when they retire you need players who are already groomed to replace them.

"These are hard times for Sri Lankan cricket but we have talented players; the only thing they need is time, and we need to put faith in them and give them confidence."

Dilshan, who took over as captain from Kumar Sangakkara after the World Cup, has struggled to reproduce the form he showed in that tournament. Since the World Cup, he has averaged 17.43 with the bat in 16 ODIs, while in Tests he has averaged 24.81 over the previous two series. Jayasuriya backed Dilshan to come good and said he needed to be persisted with as captain.

"He [Dilshan] is a great player and we all have seen what he can do, but unfortunately he is going through a lean patch, so we need to have faith in him. He has just got the job and anybody who takes the captaincy needs time."

Since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan last year, Sri Lanka have had an inexperienced bowling attack, but it was the batting that let them down in the UAE. Jayasuriya said the batsmen were not aggressive enough in the Test series and lamented the fact that none of the batsmen lent support to Sangakkara, who waged a lone battle, scoring 516 runs in the Tests. Sri Lanka's second-highest run-getter in the series was Tharanga Paranavitana with 195 runs.

"In the Tests, there were times when we did not look for runs and got bogged down," Jayasuriya said. "You need to have a decent run-rate to win a Test. The only batsman in form was Kumar Sangakkara but you need three or four batsmen to be among the runs. I didn't see others chipping in with runs and that's what Sri Lanka lacked."

Sri Lankan cricket has been in a serious financial crisis since spending a total of five billion rupees ($46 million) on stadiums for the World Cup. As a result the players have not been paid their salaries in the last six months, but Jayasuriya said that was not something that would affect their on-field performances.

"The previous board made a lot of mistakes and are responsible for this mess, and then the earlier interim committee made things worse. It is disappointing [not to be paid]. But when you play for your country you forget everything and that is what the players are doing. I am happy that they have not spoken about that."

Upali Dharmadasa, the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket's interim committee, had said he was hopeful the players would be paid after the series in the UAE since SLC were expecting to receive the remaining payments of around US$ 4.3 million from the ICC for hosting the 2011 World Cup shortly.

Sri Lanka will play a one-off Twenty20 international against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi on November 25 and then go to South Africa in early December to play three Tests and five ODIs.

Umar Farooq is ESPNcricinfo's Pakistan correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on November 27, 2011, 18:01 GMT

    I think this is just a tough time for Lankan lions they will bounce back soon

  • Ahsan on November 27, 2011, 9:53 GMT

    SJ is a legend & he reserves the right to say whatever he thinks about the situation of SL Cricket & thats what he is paid for as a commentator. But for me it is too much of a chance which has been given to Dilshan since he is given charge & to add miseries to his unfortunate fate SA are ready to prey. Srilanka had to play against world class teams after

  • viran on November 27, 2011, 7:27 GMT

    Sl team in disarray not because of politicians as some say but due to no care attitudes of the players hem selves. Sanga is just a attention seeker. He humiliated sl in front of the whole world by his famous speech. Sl players just pplaying cricket for money not like the old days. IPL is more important now not test cricket as demonstrated by mahela and Sanga during the Eng tour.

  • Al on November 26, 2011, 22:04 GMT

    Jayasuriya doesnt say which 'young' side test or odi. In tests SL have 8 players over 30 ( Dilshan, Sanga, L P Silva, Dilhara Fernando, Herath, Mahela, Prassana Jayawardene, Welegedera) and two at 29 (Paranavitana & Jeevan Mendis). A few players (ODI/Tests) are youngish.. Tharanga, Chandimal,Mathews,Tissera P. Malinga is 28. Anyway, I guess by Jayasuriya's age gauging standards anything up to 45 is 'Young'. I like the old mauler but he should check out 'young' in the dictionary.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2011, 7:30 GMT

    heh, look who's talking..persist with a young team? you got to be kidding that why you stayed till 40, blocking the opportunity for young players like Dinesh Chandimal for nearly 3 years? get a life Jayasuriya! and you know what your commentary sucks! I'd say Ranjith Fernando is 10 times better than you, if you understand what I mean. Please stick to politics!

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2011, 4:42 GMT

    Sri Lanka is going through hard times.I wish them luck.They are so down to earth.

  • Dummy4 on November 26, 2011, 4:24 GMT

    heh, look who is talking.. persist with a young team? you got to be kidding me.. is that why he stayed till 40 , blocking the opportunity for Dinesh Chandimal for nearly 3 years! Get a life Jayasuriya!

  • Dummy4 on November 25, 2011, 21:02 GMT

    Sheesh... These guys are professionals! Even decent club cricketers get paid!! About time the ICC looks into this and does something about it! Quite sad TBH...

  • david on November 25, 2011, 20:25 GMT

    captaincy in SL is pass the parcel. if you play long enough it will come back again. if you are the 2 best batters in the side it will come back a 3rd time. dpk

  • david on November 25, 2011, 20:20 GMT

    is not russel arnold not the most bias comentator, the only thing i like is him and waqar younis it quite obvious they dont like each other, but im with waqar i dont like ra either. dpk

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