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Lack of Killer Instinct and Wrong Selection Choices mar Test successes.
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"Sri Lankan Timidity Undermines Quest For Test Success" says Charlie Austin in his latest write up to 'Cricinfo' and very rightly so. Their approach to the longer game in the manner they approach the One Day Game too could be a stumbling block where concentration does not seem to be a hallmark of the young blood and the inspirations and motivations by the presence of greats such as Aravinda de Silva have been sadly lacking and Aravinda certainly deserves a quick recall to fortify the team.
The timidity for success at Test Level by the Sri Lankans seems to have been brought on by an attitude of complacency by the governing body the SLBCC by being laid back with overly accentuated hospitality to visitors in an effort to bolster its image which overrules the need for stringent merciless motivation adopted by many other International Cricket Boards who force their teams out with a killer instinct and consequently win big. Mixed priorities to say the least!
Albeit the Gentleman's game by far, the successes of the magnificent Arjunas and Duleeps of the past were achieved by a totally aggressive desire to win which seems to be sadly lacking in recent Test Series'. This comes at a price where the present leadership with all due respect to Sanath Jayasuriya superb individual performer that he is, can be seen as lacking in motivation to win big according to Charlie Austin. And then there is the question of why brilliant performers such as Atapattu, Arnold, Jayawardene, Kaluwitharne, Sangakkara, Gunewardena and even Jayasuriya (described by Dav Whatmore as being unaware of their greatnesses) have been inconsistent and have only come up with sporadic big scores not sufficient to stay on top as consistency is the key to success and this goes for the fielding as well which at times was brilliant to say the least but occasionally rather pathetic!
Dropped catches certainly point towards the inability to hold the Indians to a low score in the Kandy Test where the only 'Jinx' was the approach by the Sri Lankans towards winning, of a rather dead beat nature.
Dravid and Ganguly were missed early and consolidated the win whereas the outcome may have been opposite had their chances been taken. Fortunately all is not lost as there is a final Test against India together with the forthcoming Series against the West Indies later this year for the Lankans to come up big and prove their mettle as a renowned Test Team with the emergence of the all-round talents of Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan whose recent swashbuckling performances with the bat in addition to the leather, Speedster Dilhara Fernando too deserving an honorable mention on his ability to "Whistle The Ball" past ducking Indian heads and smashing stumps with his ferocious speed! have been marvelous to watch and probably indicative of greater things to come!
However, the need to re-assess attitudes, approaches to the game, selection choices and ironing out rough edges in bringing back the former glory of the feared Sri Lankan World Cup Winning Cavaliers is more apparent now as this is a squad of great players equipped with excelling in both versions of the game should they apply themselves under proper guidance (already present in the form of Dav Whatmore)and leadership with a killer instinct which should be re-vamped in the form of Sanath Jayasuriya and or a worthy successor relative to the two different forms of the game with the next World Cup looming in the future.
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