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Sri Lanka Women's coach calls for more domestic matches

Chamari Atapattu was bowled for a duck ICC/Solaris Images

Sri Lanka Women head coach Lanka de Silva has criticised the country's domestic format, which allows a maximum of five matches a season for a women cricketers. His comments came in the wake of Sri Lanka's limited-overs capitulation to Australia Women at home; they lost the ODIs 4-0, and the one-off T20 by 10-wickets in what was a record win for the visitors.

"How can you compete with countries like Australia, England and New Zealand when you play so little cricket? Where is the exposure and the experience?" de Silva said.

One of the main reasons for Sri Lanka's ODI losses to Australia was their batsmen's inability to bat long periods or build an innings. They batted out the full quota of 50 overs only once in the four matches. Sri Lanka's hasty approach cost them, de Silva said.

"The difference between Australia and us was that we were quite content hitting boundaries rather than running the singles," de Silva, a former wicketkeeper/batsman who played three Tests and 11 ODIs in the late 1990s, said. "If you run the singles and twos only can you build an innings and occupy the crease, that's what Australia did. They would score a fifty but it would comprise only two or three fours, whereas our women would make a quick 30 with six fours and get out."

It all came down to Sri Lanka's relative inexperience, he reiterated. "This happens due to our women cricketers' inexperience and that can be countered by playing more matches. There are eight teams in the domestic tournament and they play in two groups. If you are lucky to reach the final, you will get a maximum of five matches. If not, only three for the entire season.

"There are moves to make the domestic tournament matches two-day affairs, the sooner it is done the better for our cricket. Our women cricketers have the skill and the talent, what they lack is match experience."

Another obstacle for the women's team, de Silva said, was the age at which the players take to the game, but he was hopeful of that changing with the current efforts being made in schools in a drive led by the wife of former Sri Lanka Test captain Hashan Tillakaratne.

"On an average they start by the age of 18 and by the time they mature, they are almost 30," he said. "It is not an age to start teaching the basics of cricket.

"[But] there are moves to get schools to start playing [women's] cricket and, at the moment, there are about 30 schools playing fifty-over cricket in a competition. Mrs Apsari Tillakaratne is spearheading the drive."