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Mahela blames poor player fitness levels for disappointing World Cup Campaign

12 November 2023 03:30 pm - 49     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


As the postmortem begins into Sri Lanka’s disappointing Cricket World Cup campaign, Consultant Coach Mahela Jayawardene blamed the poor fitness levels of the players as a key reason for the team’s performances during the tournament.

The team returned to the island on Friday, having finished ninth out of ten teams in the Group Stage, which meant they did not qualify for the ICC Champions Trophy 2025 in Pakistan, the first time that Sri Lanka will completely miss out on an ICC event. 

Elaborating on the areas that he believed would need to be worked on moving forward, Jayawardene said, “For me the biggest thing is the fitness. What I noticed over the course of a tournament like this, because of our fitness, the fatigue got into us, and the performance died down.” 

“From the first game to the last game, we saw guys make a lot more mistakes. That happens with mental and physical fatigue and then the execution and the concentration lacks because of that.”

Sri Lanka were also plaugued with injuries before and during the tournament. 

Spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, considered to be among the best all-rounders in the world, was completely ruled out of the World Cup with a hamstring injury, while fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera was available for only the latter part of the tournament. 

Over the last two years, Sri Lanka has been unable to field its best team in major tournament, due to a litany of injuries. 

During this year’s World Cup, fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and captain Dasun Shanaka picked up injuries that cut short their availability during the course of Sri Lanka’s campaign. 

Not for the first time, Sri Lanka’s uncompetitive domestic cricket structure was also identified as an area that needed urgent attention. 

“The domestic cricket, the skillset, the standard needs to improve,” Jayawardene stressed. 

“If we talk about the future, we need to play our domestic cricket on good wickets (similar to those in other countries) so that when the teams plays overseas there is less adjustment required."




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  Comments - 49

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  • Pereira Sunday, 12 November 2023 03:43 PM

    More to do with him being a poor strategist that SLC paid millions for. SL team had no strategy or clue during most matches. Their approach was flawed, which should have been Mahela's responsibility as strategist. But he was flying in an out of India for his own personal commitments and keeping his personal appointments just like in the T20 World Cup. He ought to take responsibility too, instead of trying to put all the blame on the players.

    Prasanga Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:26 PM

    He is a consultant coach, if you don’t know what it means let me explain, he is not hired to coach the players or make strategy or assess players. His job is to help players if they have any concerns or issues in their technical perspective. He’s not a magician to make these unskilled school players into Best international players over night.

    Lankan Resident Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:42 PM

    The Ambanis won’t pay millions boy if they think he’s a poor strategist

    Brilliant Sunday, 12 November 2023 10:01 PM

    @Prasanga. Oh I see. So Mahela will get involved only if there are concerns. A piecemeal arrangement. So he should be paid based on the number of cases attended. That too, "help players with concerns regarding technical perspective" while a world tournament is underway. Shouldn't this be done well before the tourney. Brilliant strategy.

    S Gunasekera Sunday, 12 November 2023 03:47 PM

    quite a strange comment considering Mahela is part of the coaching team. Did he not see this coming. Why was not that addressed earlier? this raises more questions than answers.

    Loads of red flags Sunday, 12 November 2023 07:56 PM

    Absolutely spot on. There were several red flags. In Asia cup Pakistan and Afghanistan very narrowly lost to SL. Just because SL won, the narrow margins were over looked. It wasvtaken for granted as "we are good". Everyone should realise that even in victories there's a lot to learn; need to review the performances. In fact the truth was that SL didn't win those two matched but the other two teams lost theirs. To top it up SL folded for a paltry 50 in the final. Then in the WC23 warm up games SL lost badly to Afghanistan and Bangladesh. In total there were 5 flags. How many more flags do they need for them to wakeup? It looks like the entire approach is completely flawed. shows the quality and calibre.

    Mandayan Sunday, 12 November 2023 03:47 PM

    As we seen in Australia, they are fit but they don’t go out play cricket but play something else and get caught. Stop that first and all will be fine! Once arrived back the guy expressed desire to continue to play. He should have been told to get marry and settle but we expect him to play.

    Desire Sunday, 12 November 2023 07:59 PM

    Desire to continue play what??? LOL.

    Mahila Monday, 13 November 2023 04:36 AM

    NO DOUBT PLAYING WITH BALLS!!! The Category, Type, and Kind are VERY IMPORTANT!!!??? Even when Playing with MARBLES or ‘ANY OTHER’ - goes without saying!!!??? If that last statement in the video is the explanation is the outcome - That isn’t ‘GOOD ENOUGH’ - to survive and propel FWD in International Cricket!!?? If that is the best they could 'MUSTER' during the tenure of the WCC Challenge 2023, with all the resources at their disposal, IT'S DISMAL, ABYSMAL, AND PATHETIC – LEAST SAID BETTER, MJ being Past Captain credited with much acclaim!!!????

    ANTON Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:00 PM


    Gaston Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:06 PM

    Mahela wouldn't allow this bunch of pre school cricketers to be lead to glory, a feat Mahela and Sanga couldn't achieve. Pathetic excuses. Hasaranga is also in the same boat of irresponsible cricketers

    DJ Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:23 PM

    Sack Mahela.

    Triple X Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:27 PM

    First of all a player when joining should take oath that he will never betray or disgrace the country due to personal reasons.

    Spartacus Sunday, 12 November 2023 04:44 PM

    So we pay USD XXXXXX for divulging after the disaster has happened while we pay you for not allowing such a disaster. Sorry, but your a real @₹5340L3.

    Punchi Monday, 13 November 2023 02:49 PM

    Dont say "we". it is not tax payers money. He was hired by SLC for his talent.

    Roger Halliday Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:03 PM

    Mahela is giving excuses. This is our culture pass the blame , I did it right but the latest story he tells is the fitness issue. You were paid big money and you still cry. In sinhala they say gaththa mudalata weda karey nethnam eka ya denney nehe. Don't give excuses mate.

    janansavi Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:09 PM

    Mahela might even blame the crabs!!!! O come on mahela. It’s fine as long you have country full of mediocre spectators u can keep making the money.

    Fred Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:10 PM

    But Mahela was part of the outfit responsible for coaching the team.As an experienced player himself and coach I would have thought he would have pointed out these shortcomings before the tournament.On the other hand if he did it would be nice to know

    Jayantha Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:10 PM

    Lol. So that is your excuse. Your so called batters failed. That was the downfall. Please resign and do your businesswork. You were a failure as an odi bastman and now a failure as a coach too. MI removed him as coach because of that know.

    Nihal Dharmatileke Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:16 PM

    Give these guys beef they do not have the strength, take a look at Bangaladeshis they may not the best team but certainly stronger than SLs

    No power Sunday, 12 November 2023 10:10 PM

    Good point. More often than not SL batters fail to clear the boundry and get caught. In the NL vs IN match even the lower order bowlers cleared the boundry more than not. Believe everyone would have watched the PAK last pair bat against EN.

    World at a glance Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:34 PM

    Blame culture in Sri Lanka! In a school where you have many students and a few fail, who would you blame I wonder? The teacher or the student? The same education is delivered to all students! Some times you fail and sometimes you succeed! Both are a part of life unfortunately!

    Cherath Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:34 PM

    Fitness levels are paramount when taking part in any tournament. Athletes should ge put through much more rigorous workouts before and during tournaments. Have a look at the Olympic athletes in UK, Jamaica and USA or any powerful athletic nation. Our players pick up a niggle during the run up to a delivery! How bizarre! I don't want to even site Rugby. Lahiru Kumara's body is so brittle and sensitive I wonder how he got on in school cricket?

    ajith Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:55 PM

    I thought maintaining "proper" fitness of the team is the responsibility of the Coach.

    sam Sunday, 12 November 2023 05:57 PM

    They should keep away from alcohol and women.

    Mohamed Burhan Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:06 PM

    Injure prone side due to lack of fitness is a also cause to loose some matches.without Wanindu from the inception we were at a loss!!

    warren Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:08 PM

    Really? Then who is responsible for player fitness, correcting mistakes, fielding the best players for major tournaments, and making the domestic cricket structure competitive? Are you paid USD 20,000 monthly to brood and gawp and then make a litany of excuses at media briefings after a catastrophe?

    Lalith Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:11 PM

    All well said.., but are you the only one who suffer from injury... See afghanistan and... Sic... Bangladesh... Slc needs a commitment with a good strategy... The 1996 team can offers good lesson

    DOT Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:19 PM

    If you are not a part of the solution you are a part of the problem! Mahela don't play the blame game. For us almost all the injuries are from spinners! We have never heard such before. Please accept the mistake and resign. Remember no one is indespenciabl.

    DOT Sunday, 12 November 2023 06:59 PM

    Why is this most injuries comes to players who has link with IPL Franchise?

    Radically wrong Sunday, 12 November 2023 07:28 PM

    Don't give arguments brining in Chameera, Dasun and Lahiru. These are players who have consistently delivered once in a blue moon. Their ststistics speaks for themselves. I doubt even Wannindu would have done much considering how Theekshana had performed. No team can win any games with just one player performing in a match. For SL at best it was either a batsman or bowler a much who delivered. Few other test nations have been dismissed for very low scores. Even India had folded for 54. But the same team never folded for a similar score again untill now even after nearly 30 years. SL even against NZ almost folded for a sub century score. Thanks to the bowlers who managed to push the score to 171. This proves there is something radically wrong with SL cricket ie., players, SLC, clubs etc. Before all this corruption needs to be eradicated. Is it possible when it's rife from top to bottom? I doubt it's something that could be straingtened quickly.

    Novice wants to learn Sunday, 12 November 2023 07:40 PM

    During the interview Mahela states he was expecting the team to be positioned 6th or 7th and we ended up 9th. So in a multi year process of grooming a totally young team perhaps things have gone as planned? Now this leaves room for questioning as to why we have a totally young team of early twenties mid twenties without a couple of experienced players? is this the criticism Arjuna levels on Mahela and Sanga that they didn't groom successors?

    Spot on Sunday, 12 November 2023 10:04 PM

    Spot on

    Cherath Sunday, 12 November 2023 08:23 PM

    Pathirana's wayward bowling which is 1 yard wider of the stumps on both sides and Lahiru Kumara's length deliveries on a platter accounted for over 85 runs each time they bowled. How can any team mount a charge after that kind of offering? Pathirana must be forced to bowl at a single stump in practice.

    Frekish Sunday, 12 November 2023 10:27 PM

    Does SL really need Pathirana? (He cant even put bat to ball but insists on coming in the batting order ahead of Madushanka who is better than Pathirana). Even before and after Malinga loads of teams have played cricket without a bowler like Malinga/Pathirana and still won trophies/tournaments. Do you believe there aren't frekish players like Malinga in any of the cricket playing countries? (Some have populations much larger than SL). Why were they not groomed and chosen to play for their countries?

    Tissa Fernando Sunday, 12 November 2023 08:30 PM

    So, your USD 20,000 per month consultation did not result in resolving such issues? So why are you then there ? You take responsibility and make a pledge that you will correct or you leave SLC consulting.

    Jude Sunday, 12 November 2023 08:51 PM

    Very lame excuses!!

    Jude Sunday, 12 November 2023 08:54 PM

    Good thing is for you Mahela you got 4 years to build a team for the next world Cup yeah!!!

    Mahila Monday, 13 November 2023 04:38 AM


    Fitness levels Sunday, 12 November 2023 09:47 PM

    NL ended right at the bottom of the table. Yet they signed off with their heads held high. Despite being a non test playing team consisting of just part time players, they never displayed even a semblence of crumbling to a score like 55. I presume it must be due to their FITNESS LEVELS alone. Mahela, can you confirm?

    Dan Monday, 13 November 2023 01:54 AM

    Ultimately WHO is responsible for the defeat? Players, fitness, strategy, mental capacity or Is it the SLC and the coaching staff appointed by them? No one has the backbone or the courage to say THE BUCK STOPS WITH ME.....…

    A confused cricket fan Monday, 13 November 2023 04:37 AM

    Dear Mahela; Is lack of fitness the reason why the SL Team only scored 51 all out in Colombo and 55 all out in India while the first-timer Netherlands scored 250 runs against India?

    A Cricket Lover Monday, 13 November 2023 04:51 AM

    Chairman of the Selection Committee Mr. Pramodya Wickemasinghe said on his arrival at the airport that he would reveal in a couple of days the conspiracy behind the poor performance of the SL Team in the World Cup. It is now more than 4 days, still, Pramodya has not revealed the conspiracy. Come on Pramodya

    Mahila Monday, 13 November 2023 05:38 AM

    Mahela, Good on you for the explanation!!! With due and utter respect to our Past Captain, BEG TO DIFFER!? Question, would that explanation be acceptable to the Board of Directors (BoD) of the Famous "NANDU" RESTAUARANT Business – Renovated Old Dutch Hospital, if they declare, this financial year is going to be a "LOSS" making and nothing else!!!??? NAY! Coaches and Consultants, business is primarily FORMULATING STRATEGY importantly, whilst concurrently developing Player skills

    Paramanathan Monday, 13 November 2023 08:19 AM

    Government should investigate the moral fitness of the national selectors and the top officials of Srilanka Cricket. As their ulterior motive is material gain and other lusty pursuits and often forgot of the national commitments. Such officials are not having genuine interest in country's cricket and it is high time to clean up and tidy the administration of Srilanka Cricket.

    Sambo Monday, 13 November 2023 11:37 AM

    Our team has several officials, coashe's,advisors and so on. When it comes to responsibilities everyone passes the buck onto the other. No one to take the responsibility.

    Gandara Sirisena Monday, 13 November 2023 11:46 AM

    Mahela, do not blame on the poor political culture in SL! This is the main culprit of all! You are scared and keep your job running for another 50= years!

    Philip Joseph Monday, 13 November 2023 07:24 PM

    *World records in cricket created by Sri Lanka* 1. Highest wides 123 2. Highest drop catches 22 3. Highest run outs 14 4. Giving away most runs 418 5. Loosing Highest numbers of wickets 87 6. Scoring the lowest runs by any team 55 all out 7. Time out 01 8. Higest numbers ducks 29 9. Hhighest number of Extra runs in an inning 36 10. Highest number of No balls 33 11. Highest number of injuries 6 12. Highest numbers of officials from S.L.C. 103 13. HIGHEST NUMBERS OF COACHING STAFF 14

    Lal. Fernando. Tuesday, 14 November 2023 03:21 AM

    Dear Mahela! Please do not find excuses for the failure. WHAT THE TEAM NEED IS DECIPLINE.

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