Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2013-14 December 7, 2013

SL youngsters will need to wait to bat in top order - Ford


Graham Ford, the Sri Lanka coach, has said that his team's young batsmen are in the "apprenticeship stage" of their careers, and so are required to bat down the order though they have the games suited to batting higher up.

"It has been a bit of a concern for both Chandi [Dinesh Chandimal] and [Lahiru] Thirimanne who are bats capable of batting in the higher part of the order, their games are more suited to it," Ford said ahead of Sri Lanka's departure for the UAE, where they will play a full series against Pakistan. "We have current [senior] players filling those slots [up the order], so it has been quite difficult. Still, the selectors have tried to give them opportunities up the order when possible, and that's why it looks like they've been shifted around."

The top three slots in the one-day batting order are occupied by Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, all three of whom have indicated to the selectors that they will be around till the 2015 World Cup. That means Chandimal and Thirimanne are left with closing out the innings, even though they are not "finishing" batsmen, Ford said. "Perhaps it is not ideally suited to their styles because they are not really the 50-overs finishing type of batsmen. They are more of the batsmen who get in the engine room and set up the innings.

"They'll have to work a little bit on adjusting their style. They are both young players and they have very important roles to play in the future."

However, with Jayawardene missing the two T20s and the five-match ODI series against Pakistan on personal grounds, it gives one of the youngsters an opportunity to partner Tillakaratne Dilshan as opener. It's likely to be a toss-up between Kusal Perera and Dimuth Karunaratne. "They are both very exciting young cricketers," Ford said. "Kusal is tremendous talent. He is such a natural player and plays with such flair. A really good guy to have in the team and he can certainly put the opposition on the back foot pretty quickly.

"Dimuth is more of a traditional type of player. He has done well in the longer form and it's confidence-boosting for Sri Lanka to know that they've got those two options - one, more of a stabilising type of player and the other one who can really take the game to the opposition and put the bowlers under pressure. Depending on the strategy and tactics you can decide on which option one wants to use."

Ford said the absence of fast bowler Shaminda Eranga from the team was not because he has been overlooked, but because he is being monitored carefully with a view to manage his workload for the busy season ahead. Following the series against Pakistan which also comprises three Tests, Sri Lanka travel to Bangladesh for two Tests and a one-day series, followed by the Asia Cup and the World T20, then the IPL and a tour of England for two Tests and a limited-overs series.

"Eranga is very much in the plans. There is a lot of cricket ahead and it's really going to be tough on the fast bowlers. We get to situations when there are five Test matches in a row. He is bowling beautifully and he is fit as can be, but he doesn't fit into the starting ODI line-up in the combination they would put out in the UAE conditions. But come the next World Cup [in Australia-New Zealand], he will be close to [the first eleven] in those sort of conditions. He is a very important part of the Sri Lankan bowling unit."

Ford said Sri Lanka need to further develop their fast-bowling skills. "I don't want to be critical about my group of players but there are few areas of concern. People are working on some of the weaker and softer areas, and at the same time we got a lot of strong areas. We've got to [take advantage] of those strong areas and put the opposition under pressure."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sarath on December 13, 2013, 11:18 GMT

    We don't need services of seniors in their 30s, since we produce enough quality youngsters at regular basis though they come mainly from the Western & Southern coastal areas due to the fact that the poor media publicity given to this great Game by the local media for the last 25 years. At present the Game is at a very sorry state in the country, in comparison to other Test playing countries, as the classy youngsters have a tendency to give-up the Game all together soon after leaving School as there are no enough incentives for them to be in the Game.

  • Widura on December 9, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    I think still we can give the youngsters a chance.Kusal should send with dilshan.Thirimanne can no:3 position. Chandimal should send no : 4. Mathews no : 5, sanga and mahela should take the middle order like arjuna did in past days.

  • Johann on December 9, 2013, 11:12 GMT

    @Messa1. Clam down mate. Truth is hurting, I know. Indian's got what they deserved. How long we can blame them and divert from our situation?

  • Mesith on December 9, 2013, 10:25 GMT

    @ Blade-Rnuner I'm highly concerned of ur indian team travelling to Aus next year and facing Johnson who's currently bowling at 150+k's. As I have been warning u guys before, make sure u carry extra helmets and make sure to carry a group of doctors and x-ray machines which would come on handy when ur batsmen broke their arms, ribs etc

  • Mesith on December 9, 2013, 10:03 GMT

    @Blade-Rnuner ur team Ind is getting smashed in SA so pls stop try to divert the convo. You and ur flat trackers should learn to play overseas before giving lectures to us

  • Johann on December 9, 2013, 8:45 GMT

    It is a fact that we donot have any future in youngsters. Once the seniors retire, we will suffer more. Look at our Test rankings now - even with the seniors around. We donot know how to play test cricket. We will lost place in ODIs too once the seniors retire. We cannot hide our problems with seniors for ever.

  • udendra on December 9, 2013, 4:27 GMT

    If that's the case, then a "rotation" policy should be adopted for the 3 seniors, where one of them sits out.

  • Buddhika on December 9, 2013, 1:04 GMT

    all other countries if player aged over 35 fans rushed him to retire.even seniors also if they can't retire they will batting down in the order. Eg: currently lot of criticism going on Kallis returning on SA side again. but unfortunately in SriLanka fans welcome after 35 Seniors and saying to play another 5 years.and Seniors also playing first 3 spots and darken the future of youngsters. if Ford in his mother land (South Africa) he will never tell like this.instead vise -versa

  • Buddhika on December 8, 2013, 17:11 GMT

    @Badhreen Sharker last T20 Man of the Match is Kusal 57 of 37 but Dilshan 49 of 59 . check the differnece last wining ODI man of the Match Sachie economy of less than 3 but hearth economy of greater than 4 out of last wining 5 matches we win becuase of Sachie,Thisara,Kusal not so called seniors. 3 seniors paly 40 overs in 50 over match runrate of 4.5 then they can get total of 180 and individual total of 70. then they secure and expecting 100 runs from chandi,thiri,mathews and thisara. this is happend in last 6 months or so. so Dilshan,Mahela and Sanga become heros even loosing and blaming Chandi,Thiri and Mathews. Unfortunatelly Prema48 and me uncover this bitter truth

  • hasitha on December 8, 2013, 13:43 GMT

    @Prema1948: Can you explain who do you mean by J&P s ??

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