Notes from SL's press conference in 2030

Below is the transcript from a press conference with Sri Lanka's head coach in the year 2030.

Coach, tough day in the office for your boys?
Err… I suppose you could say that. Being in a situation where we are 14 for 5, following on, on the second day, after Karnataka B made 789 for 5, is not ideal.

There were four catches dropped in the first session today. Is it fair to say that standards have fallen substantially?
I think we have to be very careful about that kind of statement. I thought we fielded extremely well in the recent one-dayers against Zambia. We were really able to put them under pressure with that one throw that hit the stumps. Keep in mind also that a couple of the chances that went down today were very tough. The one at cow corner was extremely tough, as there was quite a breeze. It was also unfortunate that the fielder then dived on to the stationary ball as he thought it was going to the boundary. He's picked up a pretty serious groin injury with that, and we've sent him to Colombo for scans.

You must be pleased that your lead spinner can still take wickets. But is there a lack of support for him on the slow-bowling front?
First of all, it's difficult for any bowler to measure up to Rangana Herath, so perhaps that's a little unfair. What a champion he is - that should be the focus. Today, the front wheels of the walker he uses to get to the crease were out of shape, but he didn't use that as an excuse. He'd bowled unchanged since the first morning, but he does his job without any complaints. And let's not forget, that he had also bowled 150 overs in the match last week against the Russia-USA team, so he's had to recover from that as well.

Are there any positives with the batting?
Very much so. I know Upul Tharanga was out of the team only a month ago, but he's certainly one of the experienced players our guys look up to. He was timing the ball beautifully in his innings wasn't he? When he got to 25 I really though he was set for a big one, but sadly he hit that drive that ricocheted off Herath's dislodged dentures at the other end and was out caught. I'm glad that rule is changing from October - he wouldn't have been out in another few months. But unfortunately that's cricket.

The fielder who injured his groin is one of your key batsmen - a veteran of some seven Tests. How will you replace him for the next Test?
Well the good thing about our first-class system is that there are plenty of batsmen to choose from, so that's good. There is a young No. 4 from the northwest who is in form. And that's really the great strength of a 62-team first-class competition. Five years ago, Kirimatiyana Youth Sports and Physical Culture Club wouldn't even have had a three-day team, and now one of their players could become Sri Lanka's 963rd Test cricketer. That wouldn't have been possible without the leadership of His Munificence Thilanga Sumathipala and the wonderful system that has been set down.

Is the high turnover of players over the last few years preventing members of this side from really building up any confidence?
Yes, you can say all sorts of things about how the five dozen players who have represented Sri Lanka since January, but the truth is that we have had a hell of a lot of injuries. Just last week our premier fast bowler got a grade-two tear in his hamstring by sitting down too fast on the team bus. That's definitely an area we need to look at. And our chairman of selectors has been doing the job now for 15 years, so there is really no one with more experience or a deeper understanding of the system, who is better for the job.

Karnataka B have come with a very large support staff, and their players are obviously much better compensated? Is it tough for a side like Sri Lanka to compete with a team that has the kinds of resources they have?
Absolutely. I have spoken to the board about following the Indian model and getting a specialist dietitian for our video analyst, because at the moment he may not be taking on the right kind of nutrition required for his role. But the unfortunate thing is that the board is servicing large debts and that's the reality. The undersea stadium off Hambantota built by Nishantha Ranatunga's previous board required quite a lot of shark-proofing, I think. Though it is a wonderful facility.

Disappointed at the fan turnout?
Look, it's Galle on a weekday, and there was a bit of rain around in the morning as well. The pleasing thing was that the five people who came in to watch really made themselves heard. We may not even have got as many in the ground if the screens hadn't gone up to stop non-paying spectators peering in from above the…

Media manager: Err... The screens are there because the disturbances from the fort interfere with our new state-of-the-art broadcast technology.

The transition of this Sri Lanka team has been going on for a while. Are you confident you can be the man to lead them out of it?
Absolutely, I am. I wouldn't have become Sri Lanka's 14th coach in the last decade if I had had any doubts about that. The one thing you know with Sri Lanka is that there is ridiculous amounts of talent. The school-cricket system is unbelievably strong. We are looking very closely at a few players who are prolific at the Under-13 level for future Sri Lanka honours.

And you can't replace players like Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan just like that.