Sri Lanka news August 31, 2014

Jayasuriya outlines key role for Thisara Perera

Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Cricket's chief selector, praised Thisara Perera for a strong return to ODI cricket and said that he could fill the role of a fast-bowling allrounder for the team looking ahead to the World Cup.

Perera's 4 for 34 against Pakistan in the third ODI led Sri Lanka to a 2-1 series win, while earning him a second successive Man-of-the-Match award. He was also named player of the series for his nine wickets and 78 runs, including a brutal 65 off 36 balls in the second ODI in Hambantota that helped the side square the series.

"Thisara is a key figure in our World Cup plans for next year and it is good to see him perform like that with both bat and ball," Jayasuriya said after the third ODI. "We need to have a fast-bowling allrounder in our team and, if Thisara performs the way he is doing right now, he can give us a lot of options whether to play six or seven batsmen in our line-up."

After the third match, Perera credited coaches Anusha Samaranayake, Sumithra Warnakulasuriya and Ruwin Peiris with whom he had worked extensively over the last few months. According to Jayasuriya, Perera had been advised rest by doctors due to mental stress, before returning to international cricket.

"I am glad that he has taken upon himself to train under some qualified, Sri Lanka Cricket coaches to regain his confidence," Jayasuriya said. "I am a firm believer that if any player wants to improve his game individually he should go to a coach and get personal attention. Maybe the team coaches may not like it but still, all these coaches are from the SLC coaching staff."

Getting personal attention from a coach was a method Nuwan Kulasekara could also try, Jayasuriya suggested. The out-of-form Kulasekara took his last ODI wicket in May against England and in the two games against Pakistan, he gave away 79 runs at an economy rate of 6.15. He was dropped for the third ODI, making way for Dhammika Prasad, who took 2 for 25 in his six overs.

"It would be good if Nuwan can also get some individual attention from our coaches and regain his form," Jayasuriya said.

Jayasuriya also singled out Prasad as having potential to shoulder greater responsibility: "What I like about him is he always performs whenever he is given the opportunity and his body language is also good. He can also bat and he could be a useful fast-bowling allrounder. We need players to perform so that we can have an idea of the combination we require for the World Cup."

Sri Lanka, who have been playing continuously since December, will now have a long break from international cricket. Their next series is against England in the last week of November.