Roshan Abeysinghe wonders why the Sri Lankans continue to underperform
A cricket tour by Sri Lanka to any destination, irrespective of the strength of the opposition, is viewed as important. After all, the nation is crazy about the game and it follows that the recent tour to India for three T20 games should be viewed in that context.
With the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled for later this year, every exposure of potential players is both important and considered a bonus. Against such a backdrop, the poor showing in India should be considered a learning experience.
Before attempting to analyse the series, one has to concede that it was an unfair contest because the disparity between the sides was enormous. Without being critical of our performance or the players, it would be prudent to examine the reasons for India turning out to be such a strong force in the T20 game. This question is strght-forward and one doesn’t need rocket science to answer it!
The only reason for India’s success is the IPL. What the Indians have done besides the IPL is to manage their resources around it and play smart cricket. The IPL is now into its 12th year and it’s not merely a factory producing quality cricketers but a massive cash cow that’s funding the large cricketing machinery across the country.
It has not only offered exposure to young cricketers at a very high level but also ensured that Indian players and the cricketing fraternity are well looked after – i.e. that they’re secure and stable. Therefore, one doesn’t need to look beyond this when analysing India’s success. And be assured, the trend will continue for a long time. As for Sri Lanka, following a rather poor attempt to conduct a league of its own under the brand SLPL, the authorities have sadly not been able to sustain it. When most cricket playing nations around the world – possibly with the exception of Zimbabwe – run T20 leagues at competitive levels, one wonders why Sri Lanka has chosen to shelve it.
It is my assumption and conclusion that the reason for Sri Lanka to languish at the bottom of the T20 ladder is this.
In the past and at times, when the Sri Lankans were at the top of the cricketing world, a high percentage of cricketers from our island nation participated in the IPL – and they brought back a wealth of experience to share with their colleagues back home. Today, with Sri Lanka being so poorly placed, it’s sad to witness more cricket-ers from Afghanistan being preferred in overseas leagues to our own.
One also feels that the Sri Lankans, despite the modern coaching support at hand, lack a degree of originality in their game. With the countless analyses of a game of cricket and novel ideas thrown about regularly, players exposed to such planning are obviously bound to be ahead of the rest, which is sadly another factor hurting Sri Lanka.
In all honestly, the Sri Lankans do not lack talent or ability; but the knowledge to compete and exposure to contests are required. Whilst a Sri Lankan league may not provide the magic to turn around a struggling unit overnight,
the magic to turn around a struggling unit overnight, it would be the perfect foundation or a launching pad for planners looking ahead to the next four or five years to build a winning unit.
Such a league would not only produce results but if planned well, the funds the game needs will also flow in.
Of course, other factors besides a league must also be in place – and for this, maybe it would be prudent to compare a Sri Lankan team with their Indian counterparts. But at this time, such an analysis would be unfair.