Some Reflections On The Sri LankanTour Of England

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The Sri Lankan tour of England is turning out to be a fiascofor the Lankans at Test Match level purely because of the inability to fashion out stoic test players in every case and the degree of responsibility towards winning and driving home an advantage appear to have evaporated with the exit of the mercurial Arjuna Ranatunga compounded by the ridiculous experimentations in team selection which seems to have taken a speculative attitude rather than one which leans on the merits of brilliant players who have been unaccountably pre-empted for players with neither a proven current form nor fancy track records in order to justify selection.

Sanatha Jayasuriya has failed to convice an adoring world audience of his capabilities of captaincy and appears to have resorted to desperate shufflings of the batting order and has bowed to the will of the tenacious English Critics and the players who scream foul at the drop of a hat when at the recieving end of gale force, wicket wrecking ,body armour shattering ,fiery unplayable pace bowling and has succumbed to their vile strategy of intimidation where Ruchira Perera so much feared by the British was left out from the Final Test for fear of reprisals going back to the fatal previous Test where he was accused of chucking! together with a certain lack of insight in having included Erik Upashantha the greenest of greenhorns in the final Test! in place of someone of the calibre of Upul Chandana or Thilan Samaraweera both of whom have proven track records and are highly dependable, so in short, besides the adversities relative to the timing of the tour and the inability to cope psychologically with the gamesmanship tactics of the English, this series as far as the three tests are concerned have been squandered away. This makes Sri Lanka's climb to the top of the international cricket ladder that much more difficult and major changes in the infrastructure of the teams appear to be inevitable at both levels of the game.

The initial step towards change has already been taken through the firing of Manager Chandra Schaffter who unfortunately has been caught in a crossfire of dissentment between the hierarchy of the various factions of the BCCSL although curiously there are rumblings within cricketing circles that very distinctly the absence of the evergreen Mike Tissera, Roshan Mahanama, Bandula Waranapura and the rest of the elite band of administrators also recently pre-empted whether or not by choice, and replaced appears to have much to do with the failures of the team as their direction appears to have veered slightly although the guidance of Coach Dav Whatmore remains the singlemost calming influence which may still repreive the Lankans in the ODI 's to follow.

The English are surely patting themselves on their backs at having dispatched the Lankans into the shadows as it were when there was so much anticipated apprehension by them about having to face the talented Sri Lankans and a distinct affirmation that they were let off the hook came in the First Test which the Lankans should by rights have won by an innings or 10 wickets yet wasted with very negative decisions at captaincy level and grassed catches which added to the disarray. It has been asked " Which Captain would set a defensive field having sent in their opponents to follow on ?" and Jayasuriya did exactly that, bowling to the English, reeling from being bundled out in the first innings with a single slip and a packed outfield!

Nasser Hussein the English Skipper to the contrary has stood out as a brilliant captain who knows the art of exploiting the lack of initiative on the part of the Sri Lankans and has led England to the series win which could easily have been avoided by Sri Lanka had the proper decisions been taken and proper techniques applied by them and hopefully the approach to the remaining one day encounters will see the Lankans ending up with better fortunes.

The English weather certainly not the most conducive towards uninterrupted cricket has been a deterrent to Sri Lanka's performances (Cold Hands Means Dropped Catches! blustery weather, sticky dog wickets!! they'd rather be sailing!!!) and the quality of umpiring which appeared to have glaring errors of judgement often suggested an impaired and senile nature of the caller (are Umps permitted an odd pint or noggin during recess to cope with the blustery conditions?) has played an important role much to the chagrin of the Lankans.

This may also be the sawn song of Aravinda de Silva on his final tour of England as we salute this magnificient cricketer who has brought so much glory and pride to Sri Lankan Cricket during his glittering career so beautifully embellished with sparkling knocks of brilliance clever bowling and fielding which has thrilled the crowds and will be remembered as one of Sri Lanka's proudest sons.Well Done Aravinda! although it is hoped you will play on a few more years lending credence and inspiration to all the young cricketers for whom you have been a super role model and may your legacy to Sri Lankan Cricket continue.


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