Former Sri Lanka cricketer Russel Arnold feels legendary Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are irreplaceable and it would be a mistake to expect the current crop of players to fill in their big shoes
"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," Arnold said.
"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," he added.
Sri Lankan cricket have seen a massive downfall in the past six months or so. They were unable to beat Bangladesh at home across formats and then they failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-finals.have seen a massive downfall in the past six months or so. They were unable to beat Bangladesh at home across formats and then they failed to qualify for the Champions Trophy semi-finals.
The islanders then lost to Zimbabwe at home in the ODI series before being whitewashed by India in the Test in the ongoing tour.islanders then lost to Zimbabwe at home in the ODI series before being whitewashed by India in the Test in the ongoing tour.
Arnold feels injuries and inconsistency are to be blamed for the down slide.
"Well, it has been a real struggle because Sri Lanka have 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," he said.have 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," he said.
"On the other hand 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," Arnold said.
The former left-handed batsman said there is no dearth of talent in Sri Lanka and it was only about understanding one's role in the side.
"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," Arnold said.
"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.India ? yes, they have match winners but they also know each other's role and they complement each other.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," he added.
Unhappy at the crowd reaction in Pallekele, Arnold has urged the cricket-crazy Lankan fans to be patient in this tough transition period.
"At the end of the day, it is about handling that pressure and frustrations, whether in the crowd or as players. We love entertainment but a string of losses and performances have hurt the public.
"If we talk about players controlling the variables and handling pressure, the spectators also need to do the same. It is easy to say that they have to get behind the team but we are all humans and we like good things," he said.
"For Sri Lanka, it is time to be patient, a bit calmer in our expectations and to identify a block of players to go forward with. We need to make some decisions and hopefully the injury crisis will also settle.," Arnold said.
The national selection committee headed by Sanath Jayasuriya too resigned recently after crowd trouble in the third ODI at Pallekele, which Arnold believes could be a step in the positive direction.
"Out of 50-odd changes they (selectors) made, so many were forced changes because of injuries. Sometimes when you replace one player, you have to make another change to balance it because the team may need different components. It is tough to point fingers," said Arnold.
"(But) at the end of the day though it comes down to results. So I don't think anyone can say they have done a good job. It has been a tough one but they have not been able to deliver results."
Senior pro Angelo Mathews gave up captaincy after the loss to Zimbabwe, and Arnold believes Sri Lanka need firm leadership from senior players in this hour of crisis.
"It all comes down to leadership, maintaining a team culture and discipline. Even the players need to look at themselves and see what more they can do to be better players and improve as a team," said Arnold.
Talking about pacer Lasith Malinga's, he said: "We know he is down in pace, a bit down in fitness as well and he is not the bowler he was. But he is still better than the rest.
"It is unfortunate that he has not been among wickets. If he finds his rhythm, he will probably last for for another year or so, maybe even until the next World Cup in 2019."
Arnold feels the current Indian team has depth in all departments of the game.
"I think India are in a very good zone as they have a lot of depth in every department. In the past they had a lot of good batsmen, but only one or two bowlers. But now, not only in the squad here but even back home, there are different types of bowlers available," he said.
"It is a very solid team. It is tough to beat them with spin or pace or whatever. They are way up there in comparison. They have nearly all bases covered," Arnold signed off.(PTI)
ANTON Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:18 AM
YOU ARE CORRECT ARNOLD , ,BUT YOU MUST TELL THESE TINGS TO THE PEOPLE WHO KNOWS ABOUT CRICKET , NOT TO MUSICAL CHAIRS PLAYERS.
Cricketer Wednesday, 06 September 2017 08:44 AM
We thought the same thing many times earlier when the SL team were losing. Learn to lose and take the steps to overcome it and not keep on harping about the retired players!!!
Casanova Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:40 AM
Pls at least introduce 4 to 5 players from Colombo / Kandy leading schools, will make a difference.
kumarabraham Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:47 AM
I hope someone has ears to hear, when wisdom is uttered, such as this. Instead of listening to the mob of SL critics. Patience means waiting for a while, before we get into winning ways. Undoing all the bad choices.
Rexy Tuesday, 05 September 2017 10:50 AM
Current players not being able to replace Mahela Sanga is rather allegation because they played too long without bringing up a second level. Look at India shed many better players to give way to new blood
SL Tuesday, 05 September 2017 11:11 AM
I just have seen a video showing how indian players are doing their physical fitness training.when compare with our guys,there is a clear difference between our players and how professional indian players are.they work hard to keep their body fit to play their professional game.however,I still believe that Sanga ,Mahela might have played at low-order until chandimal,kusal,thirimanna or few other youngsters build up their confidence. I really see lack of commitment from our team players with bodies with low level fitness . Sanga is known sportsman with huge commitment for his game.
Kadiya Tuesday, 05 September 2017 11:37 AM
That's just what they said at the exit of Arjuna, Aravinda, Murali, Vaas and co. and then came Sanga and Mahela who filled their shoes.The current boys will get there too, just you wait!
ANTON Tuesday, 05 September 2017 12:54 PM
FRANKLY , WHATEVER WE SAID TO OUR CRICKET TEAM, WHATEVER THE STRENGTH OF INDIAN TEAM, ...... MAJORITY OF US ARE GOING TO WATCH T 20 MATCH TOMORROW , TO CHEER SRILANKA ........ DON'T WE ???
Yeti Tuesday, 05 September 2017 11:40 AM
When the boys rise from the ashes like the legendary Phoenix Arnold will not know where to hide his face!!!
Samitha Tuesday, 05 September 2017 12:33 PM
Playing to long is not Sanga and Mahela's mistake. This is due to lack of proper planning and not producing capable "A" team to meet replacement when seniors are retiring .
karthik Tuesday, 05 September 2017 12:38 PM
Our young players must need some time to mature and they need the cricket lovers support. They must not be mentally disturbed.
Benil Fernando ( Sydney, NSW ) Tuesday, 05 September 2017 01:09 PM
Russell, is not commenting on another area, which is payments. My Question to Mr. Arnold is why do you have to pay non perf0rming players ? In my profession iF i do not do my Job to meet the standards I'll be shown the door. Anura Tennekoon, Michael Tissera, Sidath Wettimuny, Duleep Mendis, entertained us without any payments. We do not have a single player as good as them, but get paid a lot compared to a normal person in Sri Lanka.Some food for thought Russell !
Upul Tuesday, 05 September 2017 06:01 PM
Your comment of current players cannot replace Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan may be true at the current moment. Give them some time, and you might see players like them or better than them, coming up if trained and guide them physically and mentally to play as a team.
Hubert Tuesday, 05 September 2017 07:17 PM
we need a decent number 3 batsman and a captain for few years
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