Sri Lanka to go tough on player fitness

27 March 2015 04:17 pm - 53     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Blames lack of fitness and poor form for the early exit from the World Cup

Sri Lanka cricket coach Marvan Atapattu admitted that last year's hastily arranged five-match ODI series may have contributed towards a lack of fitness among team members and insisted that more emphasis must be placed on the fitness of the cricketers.

“We must have a minimum fitness criteria for national team selection,” Atapattu said, at a press conference held yesterday at Sri Lanka Cricket. “Going into the future, I think we must stress on this in order to minimize injuries during tours”.

Sri Lanka were forced to make several changes to their original 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup due to injuries, a key reason for the exit of the defending runners-up at this year's quarter final.  Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhammika Prasad, Jeevan Mendis and Rangana Herath had thus to be replaced during the tournament.

In 2014, the national team abandoned midway their physical training program aimed at the CWC after Sri Lankan cricket authorities agreed to a five-match ODI series against India to replace West Indies who pulled out due to a contract dispute. The move was criticized by many, including batting great Kumar Sangakkara. Sri Lanka lost the series 5-0.

“I wouldn't say it was the main reason but it was not the best thing that happened going into a World Cup,” Atapattu said referring to the five-match series in India. “But it was a collective decision, the board, the selectors and the team management took."

The Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya endorsed Atapattu's view. He said  selectors will place serious emphasis on player fitness in future.


“We will have take some serious decisions with regard to player fitness. Like Marvan said, we must have a minimum fitness criteria for selection not only to the national team but also to Sri Lanka A and other teams,” he elaborated.

“We have had number of injuries during the last two months and this certainly played a bigger role in our exit. On the other had, we were one of the best fielding sides in world cricket for years and I think it’s high time we get that reputation back,” Jayasuriya stressed.

Meanwhile, Atapattu--who has suffered misfortune as the first local coach the country has had since 1999--also said that Sri Lanka should give more opportunities to youngsters to settle down in their positions.

“If you look at Chandimal, he has scored ten more runs than legendary Kumar Sangakkara has scored after 15 matches. But where is Kumar now? He is the world’s best batsman today.  I believe it’s important that we have patience with these youngsters and give them opportunities to settle down in their positions in the team,” said Atapattu.

Skipper Angelo Mathews said he was disappointed with the top order batting that led to the defeat against South Africa.

“We did well in the first six matches, but then our top order batting failed against South Africa. This is where we lost the match,” he added.
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  Comments - 53

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  • Waco Saturday, 28 March 2015 01:35 PM

    What do you mean by minimum fitness criterial? Does this mean iun-fit.

    Jaya Saturday, 28 March 2015 07:36 AM

    How about the dumb selectors? Throw them out too.

    nic Saturday, 28 March 2015 07:42 AM

    First and foremost the National Coach and Chief Selector MUST resign post haste. Do not find excuses and blame the players for them being not fit! Should that have been the case both of you are to be blamed and take full responsibility.Both of you should be ashamed coming on camera and making such excuses when you know that you messed by interfering and allowing interference to the player selections. Shame on you and SLC executives - not the players.

    ara Saturday, 28 March 2015 01:49 PM

    agreed on the fitness, what abt the team selection. we didn't take the best 15 to the world cup, and look at the team we chose for the quarter finals, losing is a different thing, but at least we should play the best XI to give us the best chance

    ara Saturday, 28 March 2015 01:50 PM

    Mahelas request to open in his last tournament went unheard Sanath should resign or be fired and we should also look for a coach who is more aggressive

    lionheart Saturday, 28 March 2015 07:51 AM

    Oh for god sake Marvan....please dont try to re negotiate your contract with some BS talk. Leave or be kicked out. You have been one of the most pathetic coaches ever seen. Since 2011, what have you done to the batting? You have made the batting unit a psychological wreck. You made the SL team look amateurs.

    Rajah Saturday, 28 March 2015 02:04 PM

    The respective coaches and selectors should take the blame for the very pathetic performance of our guys . This is the worst team that left the shores of Sri Lanka to participate in a cricket world cup. I hope the authorities will take note of this.

    Alwis Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:07 AM

    Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted? It is too late now.

    Bhathiya Waduge Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:17 AM

    You asked them to go to India during their off season fitness training session to please BCCI and now blaming them??

    Sri Lankan Fan Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:49 AM

    Marvan is still doing the coaching????????????????????//

    Zscore Saturday, 28 March 2015 02:33 PM

    Nothing to do with fitness. Team selection is what let us down. Marvan was a great player but he does not have what it takes to be a good coach. via DM Android App

    Randy Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:50 AM

    Closing the barn door after the horse has bolted

    Francis Saturday, 28 March 2015 02:42 PM

    Jayasuriya and Attapattu are trying to find lame excuses to retain their positions and enjoy the perks. They have miserably failed , the performance of the team has been worse than that Bangladeshin team. Both should be fired immediately and search begum for a foreign coach. No additional or mtravel allowances be given to them. Mathews also gradullayn losing his head and he should be seen by a counselor before it is too late

    kamal Saturday, 28 March 2015 09:03 AM

    We feel our whole team needs heavy practices. Sportsmen can not be get injured easily, we think less fitness is the reason. Fielding must be considered very much, need to take out the political attitudes and politicians from sports completely. And have implement a law not to hold any positions by politicians for sports.

    taurus Saturday, 28 March 2015 09:02 AM

    Agreed with all said. But why the batting failed was due to the stupidness of opening with Kusal Perera instead of Tirimanne who had performed so well. Disrupting that combination was insane thinking in such a crucial match. via DM Android App

    ben Sunday, 29 March 2015 03:01 AM

    mate what a shame for sl cricket he chairman and the coaching staff must resign immediately like other countries.

    Bala Friday, 27 March 2015 10:34 PM

    Now that the sorry bunch of you has realised your folly, why not resign and go and let a new team of coaches and selectors do a better job.

    sanath Saturday, 28 March 2015 09:15 AM

    Angelo Mathews Should address his question regarding the top order to the selectors. Other than Sangakkara,Thirimana and Dilshan who else scored?

    Asanka gunasinghe Sunday, 29 March 2015 04:56 PM

    Gone is gone do not go on blame games or pin pointing selectors and asking them to be sacked. Not all things we do in life go well. But smart people will learn from its mistakes and improve in the future. First let us thanks our great crickets who left us. Sanga and Mahela. Then let us think how we can develop a World Cup winning team for 2019. Fitness as mentioned is important and also the feeling. We were known for best fielding when we won the World Cup in 1996. Roshan mahanama, Kumar Dharmasena, Murali and Sanath Jayasooriya were some of the best to mention. But where are we now?

    Achala Saturday, 28 March 2015 03:26 PM

    its because of the Injuries we did well in the Tournament (well at least till the QF)original team selection was soo poor that the injuries came as a blessing in disguised for us

    Asanka gunasinghe Sunday, 29 March 2015 05:09 PM

    Like I sadi earlier youngsters must be given the opportunity to play and seniors who are over 30 must step a side. We may play bad cricket for two years. So be it but invest for match winning cricketers. Build a team that has not 15 players but 30 players. Look at australia look at the depth of its socd. Learn from them. One thing Sri lanka cricket must not tolerate is lazy cricket. If one can not feild keep them out. We were a nation who always gave bowlers a chance to be bad fielders. We have accepted that to be ok. But it is not ok. How many cathes went down and how many half chances would have been converted to catches in the World Cup. If we did that we would have been in finals again. But now let us put all that bahind. Let us learn and improve. Let us all stop blame games. Selectors coaches and the team including captain all work together to build its cricket to world standards. Let us bench mark australia as the team to beat in every department. Because they are the world best

    colin Friday, 27 March 2015 10:39 PM

    If fitness was to blame then why shouldnt Atapattu have got the team players fit enough for a World Cup?I think he must step down and so must Jayasuriya and a new set up with new thinking should be introduced

    Asanka gunasinghe Sunday, 29 March 2015 05:23 PM

    I think you have not played cricket. It is time you start. Try with a soft tennis ball. You might learn some in another 50 years. Until then keep your mouth shut and open it only to say very sorry to the cricket great Kumar Sangakara.

    cyril n Friday, 27 March 2015 11:01 PM

    Excuses galore. The bottom line is that the chairman of the Selection committee Sanath Jayasuriya, Chief Coach Marvan Attapattu and others must quit, if not must be sacked as they are nit suitable for these positions and have mismanaged,.

    Subsy Sunday, 29 March 2015 05:18 AM

    Everyone knows that sanath and Marvan are responsible for the early exit! If they are not willing to accept the numerous blunders made and resign. They need to be kicked out of their roles for the sake of the future!

    vetmahadeva Saturday, 28 March 2015 05:04 PM

    Well said

    aza Sunday, 29 March 2015 05:30 AM

    half the sorry bunch of nallthanmbis winging in this site cannot play cricket let alone know what cricket is and also they were worshiping sanath and attapattu when they were on the field. cry me freaking river. saying that no planning whatsoever and no consideration on the long term. cricket has become a business

    BV Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:15 AM


    Ranjith Sunday, 29 March 2015 06:14 PM

    Captain only talk about the failure of the Top Order. What about the lower middle order batters like Thisara, Nuwan and Jeewan. How do we compare them with players from other countries who represent lower middle order. Poor quality! We need two better all rounders whom we can depend on in the event of a collapse of the top order. Ranjith

    mohamed Friday, 27 March 2015 11:29 PM

    first of all you have to be sacked because why you send the team for short tour of India when the players on the course of fitness arrangement time the sport minister say ok to India for a short tour this is the first mistake of you and your cricket board.

    TONY Friday, 27 March 2015 11:34 PM


    Bubble Banda Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:29 AM

    Mavan you and Jayasuriya must get out now. You guys ruined our Cricket.

    Horri Jimonis Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:31 AM

    Jayasuriya for heaven sake quit your job and do only politics. Enough is enough.

    Vijith Pieterz Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:35 AM

    What Arjuna told had come in force. These good for nothing guys should get out.

    Sumith Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:40 AM

    For player fitness you cannot blame players. The team management should take the responsibility. It is management responsibility to have proper program so that players achieve fitness.

    Sunil Thenabadu Saturday, 28 March 2015 01:52 AM

    It was the terrible gamble of the selectors that misfired the true reason for the debacle and exit. Kusal,,Tharindu and Dushantha should not have been included instead Upul,Sachihtra and Lakmal should have been selected on experience and ability to cope on big stage. This is the fact not the India tour.

    samuel Saturday, 28 March 2015 06:43 PM

    When SL players were traning for the World cup to be fit. The bunch of jokers send them forcibly for 5 one day series to India which was not necessary. Thy were tired

    anura d Saturday, 28 March 2015 02:10 AM

    Always fitness will come from body by naturally . So many practice session not effective to improve Standed of playing cricket . Metal stability is the only way to improve cricket Standed go wining target .lo experience players insert to term will effect to lose serious.

    Kaputa Saturday, 28 March 2015 02:30 AM

    Sack the selectors and the coaches.We need men with brains to win a World Cup ?

    Malik Saturday, 28 March 2015 03:03 AM

    In the match against South Africa, Sangakkara played for himself and for his records. How else can he score 6 runs in 45 balls?Whereas Tirimanne who is also a left hand bat scored freely. By Sanga playing in that manner he put the SA bowlers on top and created panic in the SL team.I must say Sanga is a decent guy and a top class cricketer though.

    Cheers Saturday, 28 March 2015 03:31 AM

    We of course lost to brilliant side and the South africans were all over us never gave a chance to come back. The excuses are not good enough now Sanga and Mahela gone probably with Dilshan we should select players who are fitter even Herath is useless on the field along with Malinga and these 2 even cannot bat. I am sure we have better cricketers to take the mantle forward it was heartening to see a player like Chameera was sidelined in most occasions

    Nalanda Hettihewa Saturday, 28 March 2015 11:51 AM

    Any news about why a decision was taken to replace Vassy with Rumesh?

    kumara Saturday, 28 March 2015 04:25 AM

    How about going "tough" o the old bunch of jokers??!!

    warra Sunday, 29 March 2015 12:56 PM

    Well the first person they need to sack is Jayasuriya. Pick a new selection panel. And get a good foreign coach. Fitness was one of the issues but surely not the main one.

    Mohamed Saturday, 28 March 2015 08:34 PM

    Manager, coach and captain should resign. Mathew is not at all suitable to be captain. If you compare with past Captains like Arjuna Ranatunga. Kumar Sangakkars and Mahela, Mathew is clear visibility that he will not at all can lead a team with good management. No game tactics or decision making. Board need to look for good captain.

    Lanka Saturday, 28 March 2015 05:06 AM

    Dont talk sh had enogh time to prove u r worth. You didnt do anything as batting coach and you are ruining SL cricket..Sack Marvan and bring Hathuru as the SL coach..Head coach should have a vision not reasoning out reasons for loss.. via DM Android App

    warra Sunday, 29 March 2015 01:37 PM

    The funny thing is SL sacked Geoff after only 6 months into his contract. So what are they doing about Marven. Sacking of Geoff was the icing on the cake. No coach wants to take up any contracts with SLC.

    l.v.jayaweera Saturday, 28 March 2015 05:55 AM

    they should be given pack drill, made to do 100 meter sprints in a army camp.amaradeva should teach all national team members the national anthem before they get on to a air craft, and taught to behave on plains and at functions.

    bandara Saturday, 28 March 2015 06:07 AM

    they should adopt a selection criteria away from politics where real talents gets visible and transparent to the selectors and media.they should have policies that do not commercialise the game and compromise the country first principal.they should fire sanath jayasooriya and put arjuna to the policy making team. we have the best strategist in the cricket field and he is not doing what he is best at we should not allow Mahela selfish concept to get rooted in the team, also Malinga is a bad influence to the team, they all commercialised the game no matter how good if they dont obey the code of conduct they should be out of the door criket is a team game not an individual game and it should be allowed to thrive so

    Freebird Saturday, 28 March 2015 09:52 PM

    Dont find excuses for the failure. Reform entire structure including coach selectors board members via DM Android App

    Benil Fernando Saturday, 28 March 2015 07:21 AM

    I think the important thing Marvan has missed is the technique of our batsmen; I witnessed All the matches (except the Scotland game ). Except Kumar Sangakkara the rest played from the crease . I recall seeing Michael Tissera, Sidath Wettimuny, Roy Dias , Duleep Mendis, Aravida De Silva playing in Sri Lanka ; None of the so called Specialist batsmen ( Except Sanga ) can claim they have good footwork . It is not Fitness it is lack of skill, this was very evident at the SCG Quarter Final . I am sure cricketers with nimble footwork would agree .

    former cricket lover Saturday, 28 March 2015 07:27 AM

    The game was not lost due to fitness, but on other areas, but on several areas1. change in batting order at a QF2. we changed the order in 2011 final and we changed the line up in this key game,3. poor fielding4. the selection of T. Perera, constantly leaked runs5. when we had a specialist openers (Tharanga, kusal was picked)6. unnecessary pressures on new players (how can you compare murali to the new spinner picker for the QF)I can go on and on, the bottom line is we need fresh thinking and keep politics away from the game.
    How can you blame on fitness when our team was constantly play since Oct. with the team overseas for over 3 months including the WC, how do you expect them to perform.

    NeilW Saturday, 28 March 2015 10:24 PM

    Most of the Cricket lovers in the country knew that the Indian tour was a huge mistake. People who decided to go ahead with the tour should be ashamed of themselves for ruining the WC15 for Lanka.

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