With Sri Lanka cricket team suffering a new low with every passing game, former captain Mahela Jayawardene feels the ‘fear of failure factor’ has made the team low with confidence.
The ongoing series against India has only extended Sri Lanka’s woeful performances this year which began with whitewashes in Tests and ODIs in South Africa.
T20I series wins against Proteas and in Australia provided some much-needed respite but it was all undone when the Islanders failed to win series against Bangladesh at home.
It was followed by a group-round exit at the Champions Trophy, and as if all those results were not enough, they suffered a shocking ODI series loss against Zimbabwe in their backyard which led to Angelo Mathews stepping down as the captain.
And with nothing going their way, they faced a daunting task of getting back to winning ways against India and so far they have failed miserably. After suffering three heavy defeats in the Test series, Upul Tharanga & Co. were thrashed by nine-wickets in the first ODI at Dambulla.
“I feel the team’s confidence is low. The fear of failure factor has come out. They don’t look confident; they don’t look hungry enough in the middle. They need to address that and find solutions very quickly,” Jayawardene told ESPNcricinfo.
While Sri Lanka was not expected to win the series against the world number one team, their poor performance has surprised one all. The hosts conceded 600-plus totals in two of the three Tests and were asked to follow-on in the last two games before succumbing to innings defeats.
“I am sure the guys would be very disappointed with their performance in the Test series. It was a great challenge for them to test themselves against the number one team. They didn’t handle certain situations well. First innings batting too let them down when there was no demon in the wickets. They also never looked like getting 20 wickets,” Jayawardene added.
The former batsman also had a word of praise for Virat Kohli who is yet to lose a Test series as captain. The win in Sri Lanka was India’s eighth consecutive Test series win under Kohli. And although the majority of the wins have come in friendly conditions, Jayawardene took nothing away from the India captain.
“Look he is a pro active captain. He is very aggressive. He has a brilliant record to start with, though most of the games were played in India, you still have to win matches. He has led the team from the front so the rest of the boys are following on and off the field. The Test for them now will be playing away from home. They have created a good nucleus of players who are taking responsibility. There is good competition for batting and bowling position,” said the legendary batsman.