Written by Staff Writer
12 Oct, 2019 | 8:36 am
Colombo (News 1st): The Sri Lanka Cricket team returned to the island last evening after completing a sucessful tour in Pakistan. Sri Lanka whitewashed Pakistan in the 3 match T20 series. The Sri Lankan team ended the longest tournament held in Pakistan after 2009.
Sri Lanka was also the first team to win a T20 series against Pakistan on their home soil. After landing in the island they attended a press briefing at Sri Lanka Cricket.
Speaking at the press briefing Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee Ashantha de Mel noted that as the president of the selection committee, he had a big challenge, to choose from many players. He noted that from this tour, Vinod Banuka, Banuka Rajapaksa, Oshada, got debut caps, also they have shown the selectors that they are good enough to be in the team. He added that they have a big pool and the bench strengh has also improved.
De Mel noted that Vanidu Hasaranga is the most improved player this year from all the sides batting, bowling and fielding. He said they will give them a chance as soon as they get an oppurtunity. He noted that this time the chance came because senior players did not participate in the series. He stressed that if they had gone, chances are that Dickwella, Kusal Janith would have been the wicket keepers and Vinod would not have been in the series.
Sri Lanka’s tour of Pakistan is proof that the policies and decisions of the head of selectors. Ashantha de Mel has created self-confidence and hope among the players of the Sri Lankan team.
Isn’t the admission of the fact that these 10 young players were only selected because the senior players refused to participate in the tour, evidence that there is no proper mechanism to select or assess the players in the pool?
It is also clear that young players with talent and skill are not being given an opportunity or being assessed properly. The tour of Pakistan bears witness to how political influences and preference of players from selected sports societies has caused a downfall in the sport of cricket in Sri Lanka.
These young players have used the first opportunity given to them to prove their talent and skill against a backdrop where cricket officials kept on hoping for better performances from underperforming senior players. Against such a backdrop isn’t it the responsibility of officials to provide an opportunity to these young players to safeguard the future of cricket in Sri Lanka.
Former Test Cricket Captain Arjuna Ranatunga believes that it is a great achievement for a young team to go to Pakistan and beat the number 7 ranked ODI squad in the world. He also believes that the new players got an opportunity, for which they have waited for many years. He noted that he is thankful to Ashantha De Mel for looking into the future as the chairman of the selectors and making a decision.
Ranatunga noted that they must look to the world cup in the future. He said some players refused to participate in the tour because of security concerns, however, a young team came forward to go on this tour. He said he still can remember even in 1996 when there were problems in the country, India and Pakistan sent their teams to the island and showed the world that cricket can be played here.
He went onto note that when some of these players said that they cannot go due to security reasons, they were given permission to go on private visits to earn money. He believes that when selecting players for the upcoming world cup these new young players should be given preference. He pointed out that it is better to plan now and use the talents of these players for the upcoming world cup instead of selecting players who play for the Sri Lankan team when they want to and opt out of it when they don’t.
Former captain stressed that he saw a lot of unity within the team after a long time, the way the players celebrated when each of them performed well. He noted that he did not see this in the past and noted that Sri Lanka can win big if they protect these young players and use their talents and skill well in the future. He noted that Sri Lanka has the talent, but this is destroyed by the administration. Even today he is very disappointed about the administration because it is an administration focused on making profits. But he noted that if the players do not worry about the administration and embark on their own journey they can go a long way with this team.
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