Australia in Sri Lanka 2011 July 17, 2011

Ratnayake wary of "wounded" Australia


Rumesh Ratnayake, Sri Lanka's new interim coach, has warned that his team's next opponents, Australia, will be dangerous since they are hurting from recent disappointments.

"Taking on Australia is a huge challenge," Ratnayake said. "They are like a wounded tiger after losing the Ashes and the World Cup and they will be hungry. We need to be twice as hungry as they are, adopt smart options and play the kind of cricket we are recognised for."

Ratnayake, a fast bowler who played 23 Tests and 70 ODIs for Sri Lanka, will coach the team only for the home series against Australia, which includes three Tests, five one-day internationals and two Twenty20 internationals. It is a similar role to that of his successor, Australian Stuart Law, who quit as interim coach after the recently concluded tour to England to take up a full-time appointment as Bangladesh coach. Sri Lanka has not yet found a suitable replacement for Trevor Bayliss since he quit his position as head coach after the 2011 World Cup in April.

One of the challenges facing Ratnayake will be to deal with the increased expectations in Sri Lanka after their successes, particularly in the one-day format, in recent years. "We have performed extremely well in the recent past to enter the finals of two successive World Cups. It is something I wouldn't have dreamt of. The expectations are high because the team has started to win. Consistency is something we need to work on. We lacked that in England."

Another aspect Ratnayake said he would focus on is player management, and making sure players get enough rest. "Cricket has gone through the roof. Today it is played at different intensities and that's why management of players is important. For the amount of cricket they play today the recovery period is another important area."

Ratnayake said the Sri Lanka team was going through a period of rebuilding with the main focus being the next World Cup in 2015.

"Although we need to take the chance to introduce new players into the team there is also the now factor to be considered. With the schools producing players at a good rate, and the A team as well as the Development and Academy squads doing well there is plenty of back up for the national team, but it needs to be handled properly."

Part of Sri Lanka's rebuilding will possibly include identifying a new captain who can lead them in the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Tillakaratne Dilshan, who took over as captain after Kumar Sangakkara relinquished the post after the 2011 World Cup, is 34 years old, and Ratnayake said it was important other players also started taking on the responsibility of being leaders in their own departments.

"We need to have small leaderships in the team. Everybody should take on leadership roles if we are to become a winning unit."

An Australian and Asian Cricket Council qualified level 3 coach, Ratnayake was previously involved with the national team as assistant coach to Dav Whatmore for a brief period during India's tour to Sri Lanka in 2001. He was at the time head of the Sri Lanka Pace Academy as well. It was shortly after the series that he got the job of development officer with the ACC, a post which he still holds. Sri Lanka Cricket asked the ACC to release Ratnayake from his duties for the Australia series.

"What the ACC has taught me is to become a teacher," Ratnayake said. "I've been teaching the coaches. After all a coach is a teacher."

Ratnayake will be meeting the players, the three assistant coaches - Marvan Atapattu, the batting coach, Champaka Ramanayake, the fast bowling coach, and Ruwan Kalpage, the fielding coach - and team officials on July 18 to discuss strategies for the Australia series.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • chandana on July 19, 2011, 5:31 GMT

    This series lets hope some of the up coming youngsters get a chance to make a name like Banuka and Chamara Kapu. Both have age on their side but sadly for Chamara Silva and Kandambi the train seems to have left the station. Also it may be a good chance to give Chaminda Vass a goodbye match in the ODIs as he has already retired from tests. he deserves the accolades as one of the greatest asian pace bowlers of all time and the best from Sri Lanka by a country mile. Interesting how selectors look at players - to me Thirimanne would have been the 1st choice opener instead of Dimuth K. Dhammika P should have been the likely replacement for Dilhara F. Where Thilina K came from only selectors know as Samaraweera was in form during the England tour although he was not so good in WC. Sadly Ara and team resigned over the Sanath affair and then onwards it was going downhill. Pity Dilshan and the seniors had to bear the burden and play with all these hurdles - and expected to win as well!!!

  • Dru on July 18, 2011, 19:50 GMT

    Folks this is the clash for the 4th spot in the ICC test championships next year as 1-3 are a given. Its two teams with contrasting styles and strengths but similar rebuilding issues. One of the major SL advantages is spin and Clark, Ponting and Hussey are some the best players of spin while Australia's pace will largely depend on if there is swing available which will give the Aussies the advantage - take that away and Aus will be challenged against a strong SL batting attack. SL at home is a tough opponent as all touring teams have found out in the past but that largely due to Murali and it will be interesting to see how SL go at home without Murali.

  • FAZ on July 18, 2011, 19:39 GMT

    ***************************************** SLC has made a mistake yet again. The Sri lankan team has never performed under A local coach. It has been tried and tested yet they persevere again. Sri lanka deserve a better coach like say Wasim Akram or perhaps someone like Viv Richards. Someone who can inspire and bring the best out of everyone. We have a good batting coach in Marvan Atapattu. He is a truly classy player. But SLC needs a charismatic and innovative coach. I would say we need someone like Wasim Akram who has helped Chaminda Vaas In the past.

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2011, 17:41 GMT

    srilankan should be select a young caption for their side.... it may be mathews he will be a good leader we hope and mahela is the best opener with dilshan...and we hope srilanka will come 2 no 1 position in iicc rankings... we alwys with our lionzzzzzzz

  • Dwight on July 18, 2011, 14:47 GMT

    @Marcio- "Oz conditions"??? the series is in Sri Lanka mate. In our backyard with spin friendly tracks waiting for Herath, Mendis & Randiv to exploit, and one word..Malinga (a world beater on any track anywhere on the planet). oh and with Mahela, Dilshan, Chandimal, Sangakkara & Mathews in our top order..i wouldnt worry about the SL batsmens barely scoring a 100 runs either. I said earlier..SL should be considered one of the most deadly and feared one day side for T20's n ODI's and will beat if not whitewash Aus in those. Aus best chance at a win is in the tests. one thing i will agree with you is it will be interesting to see how Aus bounce back..or dont given thier dominance in the past and the downward slide they are on now.

  • Crick on July 18, 2011, 10:24 GMT

    Appointing a local has its own set of problems, chief among them is ego, to Rumesh's advantage there aren't any players who played with him, disadvantage is Rumesh's name doesn't feature in any hall of fame of Sri Lanka Cricket, My best wishes, SL need to unearth wicket taking bowlers for tests, so a bowling head coach is ideal

  • Vinod on July 18, 2011, 10:03 GMT

    "We need to have small leaderships in the team. Everybody should take on leadership roles if we are to become a winning unit." wise words from Rumesh. it will be gr8 to see Rumesh back, this time as their coach. we felt that the moods of the players were down during their england tour. hope they will do better in this series. all the best for SL.

  • rahul on July 18, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    sri lanka has best spinners in the world . beleive me swann is only a hype . he didnt take a single wicket against india and sri lanka in the world cup and was comletely thrashed by their batsmen. it will be interesting to see how the australians handle them. ponting s form will be the key for aussies . i hope punter do well against sri lanka as he is the best batsmen in the australian team .

  • Dummy4 on July 18, 2011, 8:56 GMT

    this is the long awaited clash between the Lions and the Roos .we shall see good cricket Its good to see a friend Romesh Ratnayake coach Sri Lanka wish you the best mate .

  • Amit on July 18, 2011, 7:14 GMT

    @Marcio -- no disrespect to your talented team but I think, all teams face a much greater challenge with Srilankan spin attack (specially in their home condetions). The Srilankan batting unit is really good. It has the potential to become the best with few new comers who look solid in technique and temperament. Their batsmen always do the job for them. If their bowlers take 20 wickets, the match is theirs. Believe me, as an Indian, I know it's the most difficult of tours for any touring country.

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