Sri Lanka cricket is in disarray right now, as they have been unable to win a single match against India on India’s current tour of Sri Lanka.
They were whitewashed 3-0 in the Test series, and now they have been clean swept 5-0 in the ODI series as well. Their team combinations have been completely scattered throughout the series. They used three different captains in the five ODI’s due to injuries and bans.
Right now Sri Lankan cricket is nowhere near where it used to be five to six years ago.
After the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka cricket has been on a downfall. They were beaten by Bangladesh at home once across all three formats earlier this year. To top it all, they were beaten by Zimbabwe in the ODI’s at home.
The Islanders even failed to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy, and now they were thrashed by the Indians on their home soil.
Former Sri Lanka batsman Russell Arnold, who was a part of the team when Jayawardene and Sangakkara were at their prime believes it would be very harsh on the current team if the fans expect them to replace the two legends. According to Arnold, Sanga and Mahela are irreplaceable and are once in a lifetime kind of players. He said,
“We are not going to replace big players like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, or even Tilakratne Dilshan. They cannot be replaced as they are once in a lifetime players,”
Sri Lanka was once a super power in the cricketing world, and they have produced some excellent talents in the past, but now the team is experiencing an all time low. They’ve even lost their chance for an automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup as a result of their 5-0 thrashing at the hands of India. Arnold added,
“If we ask the current players to be like them, then you are asking too much and would be putting too much pressure on them. I think that’s the biggest mistake we are making, looking for replacements and putting undue pressure on the younger players. We have to use what we have. They are different players. You have to identify their strengths, let them blossom in their own time and allow them to develop their own styles,”
On Lanka’s recent struggles Russell added,
“Well, it has been a real struggle because Sri Lanka has just not been able to get on a roll or been able to identify a team. It has been tough, and lots of injuries have contributed to this, On the other hand, the poor form of senior players has been a contributor as well, and when injuries are put together, the transition has just not been able to move forward. If you look at this Indian series, we have had two captains in the Tests and three so far in the ODIs. We had another one in the Champions Trophy, so that’s how problematic it has been,”
On the role of seniors in the team, he said,
“Talent wise I don’t see there is a problem. So once the new selection committee irons out the team, and get some continuity, they will be able to move forward, It’s not just about having good players, you also need them to play as a team. You look at India yes, they have match winners, but they also know each other’s role, and they complement each other. For example, MS Dhoni is a match winner himself, but he worked with Bhuvneshwar Kumar to win a match. It takes time to gel as a team. Sri Lanka have really struggled and have been unable to go forward as a team,”