Sri Lanka in South Africa 2011-12 December 6, 2011

Marsh wants Sri Lanka to lift their game

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Geoff Marsh, the new coach of Sri Lanka, has said he learned a lot on Sri Lanka's tour against Pakistan in the UAE and believes those lessons will stand his team in good stead on their tour of South Africa.

"We got ourselves into winning positions, but couldn't get to where we wanted to get," Marsh said on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa. "I learnt a lot on my first tour. Obviously a different culture than to coaching Australia and Zimbabwe.

"When you come back from a tour like Pakistan, I think everyone wants to make sure we are all on the same page. Captain [Tillakaratne] Dilshan and I get on very well. We work very closely together and we all can get better on this tour."

Sri Lanka have not won a Test since Muttiah Muralitharan retired in July 2010, and have lost their last three Test series by 1-0 margins to England, Australia and Pakistan. They also lost the ODI and Twenty20 series to Pakistan.

"I am hoping that the disappointment of the last few tours as a playing group we will enable to lift ourselves," Marsh said. "It's a challenge. We have got world class players and we need them to click. The younger players will need to play some big knocks against such an attack."

Marsh said his team could do well on their tour of South Africa if they can just put up enough runs on the board.

"It's a tough tour but I firmly believe that if we play well, we can do well," Marsh said on the eve of the team's departure to South Africa. "The key is scoring enough runs against that good attack. If you take Australia they were bowled out for 47 in the first Test and they got up from the dead and did well. It can be done.

"We have to lift ourselves obviously and some players need some runs. If we give the bowlers some runs then it will be an interesting battle."

Sri Lanka commence a three-Test series against South Africa at Centurion on December 15.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • POSTED BY 6pack on | December 9, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Gularan: Come one man, Marsh hasn't been in SL for more than 2 months, and you're calling him the walking devil and such? It's not the guy's fault that the SL team cannot muster enough patience to bat like a test match or pick 20 wickets. He's got to work with what he's given. I'm an SL fan, and am very realistic about where the team stands. There's just not enough application! We need to ensure that the guys are giving it all out there... Paranavitana is a decent test opener... if he sticks to his game, who knows he might make a hundred one of these days. Mahela needs to come good and Sanga has to continue the rich vein of form he's in. Bowling is another matter.... taking 20 wickets is going to be tough... but at least let's hope we show some fighting spirit.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | December 8, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    Right! Mr.Marsh... Now, YOU are the head coach and paid a fab salary for it too.. It's your job to show the SL team HOW to lift themselves and win. Its useless just blabbing about it...Show them!...Work out a strategy, find a way. You say the SL team has world class players so the rest is up to YOU!

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 8, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    There comes a time in every country's cricketing history when poison in the form of a virulent coach is introduced into it in the guise of effecting progress. Greg Chappel was that devil for India and Marsh is the embodiment of satan or a walking talking capsule of cyanide for Sri Lanka. S.L cricket board should realise this pronto and change him even at the cost of paying off the remainder of his contract. How dare he talks about S.L lifting their game when he himself is the underlying cause, the know it all !!!

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 8, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    I cannot believe what I'm hearing from Marsh. To begin with he is a non entity in cricket who has jumped on the coaching bandwagon to feather his nest unlike Moody who was dynamic and hands-on with the S.L cricketers. He probably got the job because of favourable words from Tony Greig to the Board. One can see what a lethargic and stoic character he is when the camera zooms in on the dressing room during matches- just sitting on an easy chair trying hard not to go to sleep. Moody in his day was always seen in earnest discussion with the team egging them on and talking tactics- jeez, what a non starter this guy Marsh is.When S.L goes to Australia in Jan 2012 the Aussies will be rolling in the aisles when they see Marsh Pretend-coaching S.L.Please god why do you take gems like Peter Roebuck and leave offal like Marsh to carry on ?

  • POSTED BY lankavigi on | December 7, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    Geof Marsh is the only person in SL cricket, talking sense.His captain doesn't know how to talk and doesn't even accept his and his team's mistakes. FOR GOD SAKE, he doesn't even know that his team is in huge problems. The three past test and one day series have been disastrous. They've literally won nothing. Pakistan, ranked lower than SL manage to beat them. Even the Zimbabweans and West Indies played much better. Infact West indies drew the test series. SL are going to SA, knowing that they will get thrashed. If you there are any true SL fans in SA, please send them back home. They're just going to bring more embarassment to SL. Non of the players, apart from a few are convincing. Sanga is trying to hold SL's batting, but one man can not do the job. Welegedara is not bad, but again he's the only one. Even though Dilshan said that their salaries did not affect their game, you could see that the SL players were not commited. Sanga and Jaya play for their ownselves. NO ONE CAN SAVE SL!

  • POSTED BY timtom on | December 7, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    All the best SL. Atleast draw a couple of tests. THat itself will be an acheivement. I hope Ajantha Mendis, Suraj emerges a star after this tour...What happened to these guys..COmpletely lost the bite ..Also would like to see Mahela talk with bat rather writing columns....

  • POSTED BY saforever on | December 7, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    been waiting for this series since 9 years now, sa went to srl twice, now its time to face the real music, anything less than a 3-0 seies win(unless weather plays spoilsport) will be considered as a series loss for sa, i know the batsmen will come good against lankan attack and regarding our bowling i have no probs, hopefully all the 3 matches will end o9n or before the 4th day to get a day rest in each tests.sa forrever \,,/

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 7, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    Marsh can talk all he wants to but the fact remains that he is the most inefficient and indifferent coach that Sri Lanka has had up to now. He just isn't cutting it like Moody used to do. It is just a waste of foreign exchange paying his salary. A mainstream Sri Lankan would be able to do better as Sri Lanka's coach. The approach to cricket has to change drastically if S.L aims to do well in S.A. The dependence on Sanga And Mahela has to be minimised by the others putting up their hands to be counted, and this can only be done by radical changes to the team morale brought about by instilling inthem the will to win like in Arjuna's days. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get Arjuna to manage the side onthe S.A tour. He will i'm sure bring this mediocre team back to scratch in no time. Take note powers that be in S.L

  • POSTED BY Lankanforever on | December 7, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    I have seen a lot of coments about Malinga and Mathews laely. So I went back to see the comments on them n that historical match.

    I was looking for something like this.

    "What a selfish innings by Mathews. He made sri lanka win" "Look at this guy. He is playing for money. He is not thinking about the country. Maling is looking for money."

    Then I went to the match at Lords where there was a slow ending. I was looking for this.

    " Look at this guy batting. If he is the future of sl cricket I,m sorry about it."

    Couldn't find any thing like that.

    People please don't forget. these are the guys who got us to wc final earlier this year. They are going through a bad patch simmilar to 1998-1999. We have to watch with some patience. They will come back sooner rather than later. It takes only one series.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | December 7, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    If the rain stays away,Sri Lanka would be lucky to finish the 4th day of any of the tests.Their batsmen lack a good enough technique against fast bowling on proper pitches and lately they even struggle against good spin on amongst the flattest pitches in the world.Tailor made pitches in Sri Lanka offer turn for the Sri Lankan spinners,but none have been successful away from home.Chamind Vaas was good in the sub-continent but suffered away from it.I still don't know why Sri Lanka tours so little.

  • POSTED BY 6pack on | December 9, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Gularan: Come one man, Marsh hasn't been in SL for more than 2 months, and you're calling him the walking devil and such? It's not the guy's fault that the SL team cannot muster enough patience to bat like a test match or pick 20 wickets. He's got to work with what he's given. I'm an SL fan, and am very realistic about where the team stands. There's just not enough application! We need to ensure that the guys are giving it all out there... Paranavitana is a decent test opener... if he sticks to his game, who knows he might make a hundred one of these days. Mahela needs to come good and Sanga has to continue the rich vein of form he's in. Bowling is another matter.... taking 20 wickets is going to be tough... but at least let's hope we show some fighting spirit.

  • POSTED BY Lord.emsworth on | December 8, 2011, 17:05 GMT

    Right! Mr.Marsh... Now, YOU are the head coach and paid a fab salary for it too.. It's your job to show the SL team HOW to lift themselves and win. Its useless just blabbing about it...Show them!...Work out a strategy, find a way. You say the SL team has world class players so the rest is up to YOU!

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 8, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    There comes a time in every country's cricketing history when poison in the form of a virulent coach is introduced into it in the guise of effecting progress. Greg Chappel was that devil for India and Marsh is the embodiment of satan or a walking talking capsule of cyanide for Sri Lanka. S.L cricket board should realise this pronto and change him even at the cost of paying off the remainder of his contract. How dare he talks about S.L lifting their game when he himself is the underlying cause, the know it all !!!

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 8, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    I cannot believe what I'm hearing from Marsh. To begin with he is a non entity in cricket who has jumped on the coaching bandwagon to feather his nest unlike Moody who was dynamic and hands-on with the S.L cricketers. He probably got the job because of favourable words from Tony Greig to the Board. One can see what a lethargic and stoic character he is when the camera zooms in on the dressing room during matches- just sitting on an easy chair trying hard not to go to sleep. Moody in his day was always seen in earnest discussion with the team egging them on and talking tactics- jeez, what a non starter this guy Marsh is.When S.L goes to Australia in Jan 2012 the Aussies will be rolling in the aisles when they see Marsh Pretend-coaching S.L.Please god why do you take gems like Peter Roebuck and leave offal like Marsh to carry on ?

  • POSTED BY lankavigi on | December 7, 2011, 20:05 GMT

    Geof Marsh is the only person in SL cricket, talking sense.His captain doesn't know how to talk and doesn't even accept his and his team's mistakes. FOR GOD SAKE, he doesn't even know that his team is in huge problems. The three past test and one day series have been disastrous. They've literally won nothing. Pakistan, ranked lower than SL manage to beat them. Even the Zimbabweans and West Indies played much better. Infact West indies drew the test series. SL are going to SA, knowing that they will get thrashed. If you there are any true SL fans in SA, please send them back home. They're just going to bring more embarassment to SL. Non of the players, apart from a few are convincing. Sanga is trying to hold SL's batting, but one man can not do the job. Welegedara is not bad, but again he's the only one. Even though Dilshan said that their salaries did not affect their game, you could see that the SL players were not commited. Sanga and Jaya play for their ownselves. NO ONE CAN SAVE SL!

  • POSTED BY timtom on | December 7, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    All the best SL. Atleast draw a couple of tests. THat itself will be an acheivement. I hope Ajantha Mendis, Suraj emerges a star after this tour...What happened to these guys..COmpletely lost the bite ..Also would like to see Mahela talk with bat rather writing columns....

  • POSTED BY saforever on | December 7, 2011, 14:37 GMT

    been waiting for this series since 9 years now, sa went to srl twice, now its time to face the real music, anything less than a 3-0 seies win(unless weather plays spoilsport) will be considered as a series loss for sa, i know the batsmen will come good against lankan attack and regarding our bowling i have no probs, hopefully all the 3 matches will end o9n or before the 4th day to get a day rest in each tests.sa forrever \,,/

  • POSTED BY gularan on | December 7, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    Marsh can talk all he wants to but the fact remains that he is the most inefficient and indifferent coach that Sri Lanka has had up to now. He just isn't cutting it like Moody used to do. It is just a waste of foreign exchange paying his salary. A mainstream Sri Lankan would be able to do better as Sri Lanka's coach. The approach to cricket has to change drastically if S.L aims to do well in S.A. The dependence on Sanga And Mahela has to be minimised by the others putting up their hands to be counted, and this can only be done by radical changes to the team morale brought about by instilling inthem the will to win like in Arjuna's days. It wouldn't be a bad idea to get Arjuna to manage the side onthe S.A tour. He will i'm sure bring this mediocre team back to scratch in no time. Take note powers that be in S.L

  • POSTED BY Lankanforever on | December 7, 2011, 11:41 GMT

    I have seen a lot of coments about Malinga and Mathews laely. So I went back to see the comments on them n that historical match.

    I was looking for something like this.

    "What a selfish innings by Mathews. He made sri lanka win" "Look at this guy. He is playing for money. He is not thinking about the country. Maling is looking for money."

    Then I went to the match at Lords where there was a slow ending. I was looking for this.

    " Look at this guy batting. If he is the future of sl cricket I,m sorry about it."

    Couldn't find any thing like that.

    People please don't forget. these are the guys who got us to wc final earlier this year. They are going through a bad patch simmilar to 1998-1999. We have to watch with some patience. They will come back sooner rather than later. It takes only one series.

  • POSTED BY S.Jagernath on | December 7, 2011, 11:24 GMT

    If the rain stays away,Sri Lanka would be lucky to finish the 4th day of any of the tests.Their batsmen lack a good enough technique against fast bowling on proper pitches and lately they even struggle against good spin on amongst the flattest pitches in the world.Tailor made pitches in Sri Lanka offer turn for the Sri Lankan spinners,but none have been successful away from home.Chamind Vaas was good in the sub-continent but suffered away from it.I still don't know why Sri Lanka tours so little.

  • POSTED BY josh2david on | December 7, 2011, 7:47 GMT

    Srilanka's bowling attack is not good enough to take 20 SA wickets therefore the results will be either draw or defeat.

  • POSTED BY Sinaha on | December 7, 2011, 7:28 GMT

    What?? We hired a coach and exposed to on-the-job training (He claims, he learnt a lot during Pak series)? No wonder we lost badly and the coach got paid handsomely too. Why are Dilshan and Mathews are in the team to SA, both have very poor leadership qualities.

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | December 7, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Everyone plays better in SA. England, Australia, India, and soon Sri Lanka.

  • POSTED BY SLfan on | December 7, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Geoff Marsh is spot on in his statement that "We got ourselves into winning positions, but couldn't get to where we wanted to get"...Exactly that's the problem we had for a very long period since early 2000s I guess. Due to the busy schedule and the salary issue, that problem was just grown in the recent months, but it was there for a long period. Usually our guys play well to turn the match in to our side and surprisingly then they let it slip through...! This problem was not addressed by any of the coaches and it is definitely a psychological thing which needs strong attention. I think that's why our cricket team needs a consultant in psychological matters so that players will learn how to handle the pressure and how to finish off the job without getting panic, just like our guys did in the last ODI series.

  • POSTED BY Faircricket11220 on | December 7, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    i am a pakistani and will love to see lanka win the test series if they can bat out tahir and steyn and morkel and bowl well at the other end a draw series will even boost lankas moral but at this moment south africa is very darn strong team wherever they play

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | December 7, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    I M SURE SL WILL LIFT THEIR GAME & GIVE SA TOUGH TIME . SA SEEMS TO BE UNDERESTIMATING THEM . OK SA 'S BOWLING IS STRONGER THAN SL BUT DID THEIR BATTING IS GOOD . NO . BOTH TEAM 'S BATTING IS EQUAL . SA RELIES ON KALLIS , AMLA , SL RELIES ON SANGA , MAHELA . BUT DID SA PLAYERS HAVE PLAYED AGAINST SL SPIINERS IN A TEST MATCH . NO. THAT WILL BE THE KEY FOR SL . GO SL GO . USE YOUR TRUMP CARD ( SPIN BOWLING ) . GOOD LUCK FROM INDIA .

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | December 7, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    Important that Sri Lankan batsmen play aggressively. Playing defensive cricket will be road to death in SA. It is the SL batting that holds the key. SA are weak against spin, so may be Ajantha Mendis might hold the key for SL in bowling. Good luck SL!

  • POSTED BY Ms.Cricket on | December 6, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    Stop the players thinking and saying stupid things to the media. Concentrate on the basics.

  • POSTED BY MH19 on | December 6, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    Its good to see comments of this Calibre from a person like Geoff Marsh with so much of expirience.Very happy to hear that he gets on well with Dilshan and its important the squad needs to Gel to achieve results as coach or captain cannot achieve by itself.I hope Geoff will do Sri Lanka Cricket proud soon by getting the best from all the players like Whatmore and Tom Moody did.Also hope that he will groom the youngsters so we will have a solid back moving forward.If Marsh says he learned alot from Pakistan tour I hope our Players also have learned alot as our Culture sometimes lack those instinct giving excuses and not performing.

  • POSTED BY playitstraight on | December 6, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    SL will definitely lift their game once they receive their payments that is. In general, salaries motivate people to do their job better once they get it, but if they don't get their salary for 5-6 months or more, then they get depressed and don't do their job properly. This is the current situation with current SL team, hopefully it gets resolved soon. SL have the talent to compete. Dilshan needs to stop swinging at every wide ball he gets, this is a test, not a t20. Sanga needs to continue his rich vein of form. Mahela needs to think twice before commiting to a stroke. Hopefully, Thilan Samaraweera is included so that the batting is stronger. Matthews could bowl maybe 10 overs in an innings, and the bowling could get stronger by that. Good luck SL and SAs for the tour match!!!

  • POSTED BY WeeBee on | December 6, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    very tough tour for srilanka,, good luck anyway

  • POSTED BY Hadinali on | December 6, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka has to up their game quite a bit to compete with SA. I love both the teams - hoping to see a closely contested series. So many great batsmen will be on display. Lets hope Mahela and Smith find their touch early.

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  • POSTED BY Hadinali on | December 6, 2011, 20:37 GMT

    Sri Lanka has to up their game quite a bit to compete with SA. I love both the teams - hoping to see a closely contested series. So many great batsmen will be on display. Lets hope Mahela and Smith find their touch early.

  • POSTED BY WeeBee on | December 6, 2011, 21:17 GMT

    very tough tour for srilanka,, good luck anyway

  • POSTED BY playitstraight on | December 6, 2011, 22:30 GMT

    SL will definitely lift their game once they receive their payments that is. In general, salaries motivate people to do their job better once they get it, but if they don't get their salary for 5-6 months or more, then they get depressed and don't do their job properly. This is the current situation with current SL team, hopefully it gets resolved soon. SL have the talent to compete. Dilshan needs to stop swinging at every wide ball he gets, this is a test, not a t20. Sanga needs to continue his rich vein of form. Mahela needs to think twice before commiting to a stroke. Hopefully, Thilan Samaraweera is included so that the batting is stronger. Matthews could bowl maybe 10 overs in an innings, and the bowling could get stronger by that. Good luck SL and SAs for the tour match!!!

  • POSTED BY MH19 on | December 6, 2011, 22:38 GMT

    Its good to see comments of this Calibre from a person like Geoff Marsh with so much of expirience.Very happy to hear that he gets on well with Dilshan and its important the squad needs to Gel to achieve results as coach or captain cannot achieve by itself.I hope Geoff will do Sri Lanka Cricket proud soon by getting the best from all the players like Whatmore and Tom Moody did.Also hope that he will groom the youngsters so we will have a solid back moving forward.If Marsh says he learned alot from Pakistan tour I hope our Players also have learned alot as our Culture sometimes lack those instinct giving excuses and not performing.

  • POSTED BY Ms.Cricket on | December 6, 2011, 23:23 GMT

    Stop the players thinking and saying stupid things to the media. Concentrate on the basics.

  • POSTED BY Sinhaya on | December 7, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    Important that Sri Lankan batsmen play aggressively. Playing defensive cricket will be road to death in SA. It is the SL batting that holds the key. SA are weak against spin, so may be Ajantha Mendis might hold the key for SL in bowling. Good luck SL!

  • POSTED BY rahulcricket007 on | December 7, 2011, 4:54 GMT

    I M SURE SL WILL LIFT THEIR GAME & GIVE SA TOUGH TIME . SA SEEMS TO BE UNDERESTIMATING THEM . OK SA 'S BOWLING IS STRONGER THAN SL BUT DID THEIR BATTING IS GOOD . NO . BOTH TEAM 'S BATTING IS EQUAL . SA RELIES ON KALLIS , AMLA , SL RELIES ON SANGA , MAHELA . BUT DID SA PLAYERS HAVE PLAYED AGAINST SL SPIINERS IN A TEST MATCH . NO. THAT WILL BE THE KEY FOR SL . GO SL GO . USE YOUR TRUMP CARD ( SPIN BOWLING ) . GOOD LUCK FROM INDIA .

  • POSTED BY Faircricket11220 on | December 7, 2011, 5:02 GMT

    i am a pakistani and will love to see lanka win the test series if they can bat out tahir and steyn and morkel and bowl well at the other end a draw series will even boost lankas moral but at this moment south africa is very darn strong team wherever they play

  • POSTED BY SLfan on | December 7, 2011, 5:53 GMT

    Geoff Marsh is spot on in his statement that "We got ourselves into winning positions, but couldn't get to where we wanted to get"...Exactly that's the problem we had for a very long period since early 2000s I guess. Due to the busy schedule and the salary issue, that problem was just grown in the recent months, but it was there for a long period. Usually our guys play well to turn the match in to our side and surprisingly then they let it slip through...! This problem was not addressed by any of the coaches and it is definitely a psychological thing which needs strong attention. I think that's why our cricket team needs a consultant in psychological matters so that players will learn how to handle the pressure and how to finish off the job without getting panic, just like our guys did in the last ODI series.

  • POSTED BY Nuxxy on | December 7, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    Everyone plays better in SA. England, Australia, India, and soon Sri Lanka.