Sri Lanka news June 1, 2015

Kaluwitharana bets big on young SL trio


Kaluwitharana: 'Kusal was simply brilliant (against Pakistan A), averaging more than 100 in the ODIs and 150 in the unofficial Tests' © Getty Images

Sri Lanka A coach Romesh Kaluwitharana has said Kithuruwan Vithanage, Kusal Perera and Ashan Priyanjan were ready to take the next step towards nailing down their places in the senior team.

Following the retirements of senior players like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara after the 2015 World Cup, Sri Lanka set their sights on the the home series against Pakistan A to scout for replacements. Sri Lanka 'A' won the three-match one-day series 2-1 and drew the three unofficial Tests, two of which were affected by bad weather.

"The three of them are good players. Kusal and Kithuruwan were outstanding in the series. Even though Ashan didn't score much he will come up very fast. They will make the Sri Lanka team very soon," Kaluwitharana said.

All the three have represented Sri Lanka, but their appearances have been sporadic. "Kusal was simply brilliant throughout the whole series, averaging more than 100 in the ODIs and 150 in the unofficial Tests," Kaluwitharana said. "His positive batting was one of the reasons for the team performing well, but overall everyone contributed.

"On the final day of the third 'Test' the captain Ashan Priyanjan and Kithuruwan batted brilliantly. That partnership saved the innings and then Kusal came to the party."

In comparison to Perera and Vithanage, Priyanjan had a rather lean series with the bat scoring only a fifty apiece in both formats. Kaluwitharana didn't feel captaincy was a reason for his poor form.

"This is not the first time he has captained the 'A' side; he has done that before on the last tour to England. It's not a big burden for him," he said. "Technically he doesn't have any issues, he got run-out once. Those kinds of periods a cricketer goes through. He is a great act; it's a matter of getting runs on the board. I have a lot of faith with his ability to perform."

Kaluwitharana lauded the performances of his team against a strong Pakistan 'A' side. "We played a very good and experienced Pakistan side which had about 6-7 Test and ODI players whereas we had a very young side," he said.

Kaluwitharana, however, cautioned against pushing the players too early into the senior team before they were ready. "Looking at the new players who had the opportunity for the first time, they showed a lot of promise and talent. They need to be looked at more regularly and given more opportunities and time for them to get adjusted to playing at international level," Kaluwitharana said.

"We need more tours like this to gauge the consistency of the players; we can't gauge them in one series. It's not only batting and bowling but how they handle pressure, how they feel and how they contribute to the side.

"When they continue to play more matches in the 'A' side they will become more comfortable and confident when they are called up to play in the senior side. If you throw them to the deep end straight away they might drown and may never swim again."

Kaluwitharana said Sri Lanka were fortunate that at the moment there wasn't much pressure for new players to be introduced.

"We are looking at new players more (for the) long term because we have a lot of good players in the current senior side. It will be good if we can produce at least one or two players for a year who can be standby replacements for the senior team. It's a good thing to have players shadowing the national players because it keeps the national player on edge to perform better, to focus more and give more than 150 percent to the team.

Kaluwitharana also praised the efforts of the bowlers. "It was a fair call by everyone to give good decent wickets which had some bounce and pace and our boys bowled a better line and length than Pakistan's experienced fast bowlers. Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Gamage bowled brilliantly throughout the series. For me they are quite ready to take the next step to the senior side. Fast bowling coach Champaka Ramanayake was quite pleased with their performances. Their fitness levels, attitude and performance levels have improved tremendously.

"Of the spinners (Tharindu) Kaushal has improved a lot from where he was. He is getting more confident day by day. With his ability to turn the ball he will be a very good prospect for the future."

In October, Sri Lanka 'A' is due to tour New Zealand ahead of the senior team's visit in December. "That will be a good tour because we are playing before the start of their summer in conditions which we don't experience here."

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on June 6, 2015, 4:26 GMT

    this is not the real test to gauge them as test players or international level cricketers.Pakistan A does not have quality cricketers.recently Pakistan national team was defeated by Bangladesh.also our players played in home,conditions are favorable to them,please arrange tours in Australia,England, new Zealand,and south Africa,they have better A teams .first of all try to build competitive qualities among domestic players and focus your attention on school cricketers who have better Technics and tall and well built school boys who can ball fast.also need to improve and invest cricket infrastructure in our country.key element is improve the quality of cricket coaches who train school boys .good luck sidath we know you are intelligent and good gentlymen

  • Lahiru on June 4, 2015, 10:46 GMT

    Kusal Perera is in a different league when he is compared with Vithanage or Piyanjan. He clearly showed it in the recently concluded series and even before in 2014, when he smashed Dale Steyn all over the park in the WorldT20. In the early nineties and 2000s we had good cricketers coming from Colombo as well as from the outstations (Sanath, Murali, Sanga, Herath, Malinga came from Matara, Kandy, Kurunegala, Galle etc.). But now most of these young players, specially batsman who were selected to play Sri Lanka A are from Colombo. It is not a good sign for the future of SL cricket.

  • Nimmie on June 4, 2015, 0:28 GMT

    We don't want recommendations about batting from persons that have never had ability to score a 50 without offering 2-3 straight forward chances and couldn't last 10 overs, 5 out of 6 innings played. If the Country want to go up in the Test rankings, give more value to batters such as S'weera that have control & capability to use straight bat, giving full-face. Having too many reckless hitters in the team is the main cause for our down-fall in Test ranking and inconsistency in ODIs as well, it's all started since the day players such Aravinda & Attapattu retired from the top-order and always better to have youngsters maintained, consistency from the age of 14 such as Charith Asalanka & Avishka Fernando rather than having too many reckless hitters. If the Country wants do well, Chandimal & Mathews should occupy No 3 & 4 positions; their batting averages have been hampered by always batting very low in the order.

  • Dummy4 on June 3, 2015, 15:59 GMT

    It's good to hear young players are coming up. I all so wane mention some of the players don't like to play test cricket if you wane be good bats men you have to play long format.For example marvan ,mahela ,sanga few of the players that best in the world long format of the game will improve what ever the skill you do bowling or batting so I am asking young players to involve test cricket also our test ranking low, odi to bring it up top of the table make proud country as your self too. Coming up pk series gone be challenging hope every one ready to face.good luck everyone...

  • Kepili on June 3, 2015, 11:52 GMT

    Why SL flopped in WC despite Sanga & Dilly contributing their career best stints? Obviously there wasn't any stable core in the top for them to adhere & build long partnerships to accomplish the task . What was the missing link?

    Let us look at UT's overall record of most productive long innings above 50 runs in his career. The following is his overall stats in those productive ins, in which he helped to build many partnerships (holds the World record for highest number of 200+ stands) & win those matches for SL.;filter=advanced;orderby=balls_faced;runsmin1=50;runsval1=runs;template=results;type=batting;view=innings

  • Kepili on June 3, 2015, 11:36 GMT

    Tharanga's Long innings (50+ scores) record as Opener: - 41 in - 3,354 r -174*HS - 98.64 Av - 82.24 SR -13x100- 28 x50 (apart from 21 other ins, where he scored between 30 to 49 runs). WHAT does this mean? He had played 169 ODI ins to date & 41 of those were 50+ scores staying at the wicket between 72 to 228 minutes facing 59 to 159 balls.This means UT had played a productive long inning CONSISTENTLY & maintained a consistency ratio of one productive inning from every 4 ins (1/4) in his career, that lasted certainly beyond 15th over up to the 50th over, without exposing the rest to new ball seam attack & making a solid core for others to rally around him & build fruitful stands! (He achieved this without the benefit of New Field restriction rules enjoyed by others during past 2 yrs of his isolation).

    Former selectors systematically ruined SL chances of achieving WC pinnacle, despite the valiant efforts made by Sanga & Dilly!

  • Pinidiya on June 2, 2015, 11:40 GMT

    Good to see a new selection panel with some neutral people. Hope they will mainly focus on achievements based merits & vast experience from now onwards. One of their prime tasks, should be the re-stabilization of SL's ODI Opening spot, with SL's MOST Experienced (151 ins) Number-ONE opener, Tharanga who had faced SL's HIGHEST number of 6,623 balls in the initial phase of new ball movement delivered by the best in the trade of seam bowling, in variable conditions around the globe!

    Upul did a fantastic job in the previous 7 y up to axing in 2013, with very productive batting record as Number 1 (151 in - 4902 r -34.27 Av- 74.01 SR - 174* HS -13 x100- 25 x 50). Unfortunately, his (UT just 30 yrs) career was put on hold for more than 2 yrs by the previous selectors, causing major problems to the entire side leading to ultimate QF flop in WC.

  • Ted on June 2, 2015, 10:58 GMT

    No country would drop a player from the squad, who was the match-wining highest scorer (94 & 45 runs) in the previous Test-series decider. But, unfortunately it happened for the first time in history of SL cricket in 2014 Dec, when picking the Test squad to tour NZ, prior to WC. That was just a part of Sanath's repeated blows directed on Upul Tharanga since 2013 to 2015 WC. Which country would drop a player who was the match-wining highest scorer 92 & 45 runs in the previous series decider, in the Last Test Vs PAK in late 2014?

    Tharanga had gathered 306 runs @ Av 38.25 with 2 x 50+scores(83 Vs SA & 92 Vs Pak) narrowly missing two Tons in his brief stint of 4 Tests given after 7 yrs (just to tease him), to be dropped again despite showcasing his potential. SL cricket future depends on fair selections! Time to bring the silent Killer back.

  • Buddhika on June 2, 2015, 10:24 GMT

    What Ever the ODI Team it should not include TM Dilshan,Kula and Hearth these 3 are keep blocking youngsters chances in our team. Dilshan almost 39,could he play 2019 world cup at the age of 43? He slowly become second sanath who played until 43. Hearth(37) is best test blower but not better at ODI,Kaushal and new bower should find along with sachie Kula(32) continues failing last matches so have to say his time is over now. Until last world cup selection committee gave more than enough chances to these no need to give chances in futrue

  • Dummy4 on June 2, 2015, 9:19 GMT

    Time to bring the silent killer back

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