What’s Going on With Sri Lankan Cricket: 2021


Modified Aug 4, 2021 10:43 PM IST

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Sri Lanka has finally found a way to beat a high-profile team. They beat the Indians, who were depleted, but the win can undoubtedly be looked upon with happiness. While the series win indicates some positive movement, Sri Lanka continues to be hit with the retirement of some seniors, the bans of three players, and the results remain inconsistent.

They have been pushed aside with ease by Bangladesh, and England and the side has been in transition for a long time. Several former Cricketers and experts predicted a decline, but the extent has been unbelievable.

Quite a few issues have led to this decline, and the problems go back a long way. For starters, SL fell prey to the lack of groomed youngsters. They sent full-strength sides while touring smaller nations, and the SLPL didn’t help them unroot some new talents.

Domestic issues continue to be an issue, as Sri Lanka struggles to unearth new players ready to take on international Cricket. The structure makes it difficult for talent to come out, and the lack of funds leaves SL in a restricted state.
While issues have played a part in the past, the current scenario isn’t helping Sri Lankan Cricket. The domestic structure is the same, and the existing players and coaching staff face inconsistency.

While Dasun Shanaka leads Sri Lanka to a series win, it is interesting to note that this is only the second series of Shanaka’s second stint as captain. He previously led the side in 2020 and was one of the many captains of Sri Lanka in the last five years. The side kept shifting leaders, starting with the likes of Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal. They then used Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedara, Thisara Perera, and Lasith Malinga before going to Dimuth Karunaratne. The leadership kept moving around, and a lot of uncertainty was created.

The uncertainty extended to the coaches as well as Sri Lanka kept ringing the changes. They used Graham Ford, Nic Pothas, Chandika Hathurasingha, and now have Mickey Arthur. They dropped Kusal Perera, who was the recent captain, and the decision creates further chaos.

To add to their woes, Sri Lanka banned Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, and Danushka Gunathilaka as the three players breached the bio-bubble in England. The latest contract issues have created further problems, leading to Kusal Perera’s appointment and Dasun Shanaka as leaders in the past few series.

The contract troubles have put the future of some players in doubt. Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, and Dimuth Karunaratne didn’t agree to the contracts, resulting in their removal from the side. The three are now in a pickle with their careers, and Angelo Mathews has also contemplated international retirement.

Along with the three seniors, Sri Lanka has been hit by a few other retirements. Upul Tharanga announced his retirement a few months ago, and Thisara Perera followed him at the age of 32. While Perera and Tharanga were on the fringes, a recent retirement may shake Sri Lanka even more. They recently lost Isuru Udana, who is 33 years old. The left-arm pacer is a regular side, and his experience has proved to be handy in recent games.

With a string of retirements and changes in personnel, the role of the team becomes tough. The players have displayed some excellent performances, but they couldn’t continue their good work long enough. The recent tours have seen some bright spots, with Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera making some strides. Avishka Fernando and Dhananjay De Silva have also done well, but Sri Lanka will have to look beyond the results to find success.

With contracts to sort out, domestic Cricket issues and many other factors, Sri Lanka are left with a lot to do. The series win will encourage them as their players will feel they have the capability, but Sri Lanka has a long way to go before becoming the world-beaters they once were. Whether they can replicate old successes is still a massive question and is very unlikely with the current state of the Sri Lankan Cricket team.