Pakistan v Sri Lanka 2008-09 / News

Sri Lanka in Pakistan 2008-09

We need to be consistent with our batting - Jayawardene

Osman Samiuddin

January 18, 2009

Text size: A | A


Mahela Jayawardene speaks to the media after arriving in Karachi © AFP
Enlarge
 

It isn't quite protocol, but nobody could blame Ijaz Butt, the PCB chairman, for being at Karachi's Jinnah International Airport to greet the arrival of Sri Lanka on Sunday morning. Pakistan needs international cricket like humans need water, and given that Mahela Jayawardene's men were the first team of standing to visit Pakistan for a bilateral series since September 2007, the gesture was both well-meant and indicative of the hosts' pleasure.

Not that the generosity of spirit is likely to infect Sri Lanka, for they don't arrive as the obliging tourists. They are a hardy bunch, well-balanced between young and old, and have a fair sprinkling of game-changing superstars. Pakistan closely followed the "grey areas" in sketchy recent ODI performances in Bangladesh, but they wouldn't have failed to notice that they still managed to win. Just in case they did, Jayawardene was on hand to remind them.

"We're still winning," he said. "There are periods when you go through tough times as a team and you need to pull through them. That's what character is all about. I haven't seen too many teams being 6 for 5 [as Sri Lanka were in the tri-series final against Bangladesh] and still winning. Even when we came here for the Asia Cup, we weren't favourites and we won it."

But since then they have been decidedly patchy, winning nine of 13 games, including a home series loss to India and a spate of unconvincing wins against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Batting is the concern, as a highest of 227 in that period suggests.

"The wickets were tough in Bangladesh but we have to struggle through that and challenge ourselves," Jayawardene admitted. "But consistency is something we are working on. After the 2007 World Cup some new guys came in and we went through a transition. It has been patchy, especially if you consider the bowling attack we have. But Upul [Tharanga] and Sanath [Jayasuriya] are back and they bring some experience, but we can be much more consistent with our batting."

It might very well be an instruction from captain Jayawardene to batsman Jayawardene. Those 13 games have produced a personally wretched run: just two fifties, an average of barely 21 and four ducks. Jayawardene thus finds himself in territory Mark Taylor and Nasser Hussain, among many other captains, have visited in recent years. You may lead a nation, but you can't buy yourself a run.

"I've always said that I have two different roles. When I'm captain, I'm a captain and I always consider myself as a batsman for the team. It is a concern because, as a batsman, I need to contribute. I don't see that I'm out of form because, when I play Tests, I'm batting really well, getting big runs. It's just the application and batting in different situations, trying to get through those periods that I need to work hard on."

The opponent will need to be worked on as well, for Pakistan are straining to play some serious cricket. Aggressive cricket, secret strategies and some young talent has been promised by the hosts. Jayawardene's response is to keep it simple: "This is not warfare, just a simple game. Our way is to play hard and tough. Pakistan is always Pakistan and they are a very tough side whether they play regularly or not. They have got quite a few individuals who can take the game away from you on a given day so it's going to be a tough series. We are looking forward to the challenge."

As is all of Pakistan.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of Cricinfo

RSS Feeds: Osman Samiuddin

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

TopTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.
Related Links
Players/Officials: Mahela Jayawardene
Series/Tournaments: Sri Lanka tour of Pakistan
Teams: Sri Lanka
Tour Results
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore - Mar 1-5, 2009
Match drawn
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Karachi - Feb 21-25, 2009
Match drawn
PCB Pat XI v Sri Lankans at Karachi - Feb 17-18, 2009
PCB Pat XI won by 112 runs
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Lahore - Jan 24, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 234 runs
Pakistan v Sri Lanka at Karachi - Jan 21, 2009
Sri Lanka won by 129 runs
More results »
News | Features Last 3 days
News | Features Last 3 days