In focus

Top Headlines

Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home - Cricket News
Match Reports,07 July 2015

Leie, Phangiso spin South Africa home

WT20 Fantasy

Sri Lanka coach backs Chandimal for T20Is

Young players are lucky to have seniors such as Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardene to take the pressure off them, says Paul Farbrace

Sri Lanka coach backs Chandimal for T20Is  - Cricket News
Tillakaratne Dilshan plays a shot during the warm-up match against West Indies.
Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace came out in strong support of captain Dinesh Chandimal, who has managed just one half-century in a 26-match Twenty20 International career. Chandimal, who is still learning his craft at 24, knows that his T20I batting average of 13.3 is far from acceptable, irrespective of the fact that he bats lower down the order than he would perhaps like.

But Farbrace backed his captain to the hilt. “Chandi is a very exciting young cricketer. He’s someone with a lot of good cricket thoughts. He’s got an excellent cricket brain and he was chosen because of those factors. He’s a young cricketer finding his way,” said Farbrace. “He’s had a tough time and people have been very quick to point out his tough times. Equally, in the short space of time that I’ve been here, he got a hundred in his last Test match, he played brilliantly in the last One-Day International here in Bangladesh. All cricketers go through dips in form and it’s important he learns very quickly from this tough period.”

The advantage Chandimal has is the cushion provided by the presence of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena in the playing eleven. The three stalwarts, who have performed in every format over the years, and led the team at different times, allow Chandimal to pick up valuable pointers while playing. “Every young cricketer in the Sri Lankan set-up is grateful for the senior players around him. The fact that there’s former captains in the team – all of them are very giving of their time and knowledge not just on the field but off the field as well. There’s been a lot of talk about senior players coming to the end of their careers – the young players are very lucky to have those senior players around them,” said Farbrace. “The likes of Sanga, Dilshan, Mahela – all these people around Chandi – he can only benefit from them. We said to our senior players at the start of the Bangladesh tour – the best thing they can do for the younger players is play their game as well as they can because that takes an awful lot of pressure off the youngsters. At the end of the day, you can have as many coaches as you like but players learn from players. It’s up to the coaches to facilitate that learning.”

This tournament is an especially poignant one for Sangakkara and Jayawardena, who have both begun the process of winding down their illustrious careers by announcing that they would not be available for T20Is after the tournament. “Mahela played a fantastic innings against England. Sanga’s a very dangerous player. He hasn’t had much opportunity in this competition but you always expect big things from them. They’ve never let their team or their country down,” said Farbrace. “Their records show that they’re fantastic players. They’ve given so much to the team. There was nobody more pumped up before the New Zealand fielding innings than Mahela. He ran past me and nearly knocked me out of the way. You could see from his body language on the field how desperate he was for the team to do well. They play with huge expectations every time they play because of their records and what they’ve done for the country. Whether it’s their last competition or not in this form, they’ve been brilliant.”

Farbrace chose not to read too much into Sri Lanka’s loss to West Indies in the final of the ICC World T20 final in Colombo in 2012, or their more recent defeat in a warm-up match ahead of this tournament. “The simple fact is that was then and this is now. In the practice match, we left two of our main bowlers out on purpose. We gave other people an opportunity. The last game will have no bearing whatsoever,” he said. “T20 is about whoever turns up on that particular day. Form goes out of the window. It’s about making sure we’re ready and focused. What happened two years ago won’t even be talked about, I can assure you.”

Sri Lanka will need to make a quick adjustment to the drier, more abrasive surface in Mirpur, having played its Super 10 matches on the skiddy Chittagong pitch, save for the last game against New Zealand. On a track that Brendon McCullum described as under-prepared, Rangana Herath spun a sticky web around the batsmen, ending with dream figures of 3.3-2-3-5. “I’m not sure Rangana will ever find a wicket more helpful than the one he found in Chittagong the other evening. We’ve all talked about the fact that wickets have become slower over the course of the competition. But the tough thing for us in Chittagong was that the wickets got slower and drier and the outfield got wetter and wetter,” said Farbrace. “We’ve spent a little bit of time playing here in the last few months. We know coming here that the wickets will turn. But again, it’s about making sure you get the right pace. It’s not about getting the ball to the other end. You’ve got to bowl the right pace and that’s what Herath did so well against New Zealand in Chittagong. He bowled a fantastic pace and that’s the key. It will spin and we’ve got enough good spinners in our side to bowl well on it.”

The other aspect that Farbrace was keen to take care of, was allowing his players to express themselves freely, not being too tied down by preconceived plans. “You can have the best plans – I’m sure Pakistan had a brilliant plan for the game against West Indies – but things can happen very quickly. Once you lose a couple of wickets early in the innings, (the) teams that take it on and continue to be brave are the ones that win games,” he said. “The teams that stutter – you waste three or four overs trying to get back into the game – the game’s gone then. That’s the key thing. That’s the one thing we have with our side – a lot of confidence. We let them go and play the game. We don’t spend hours and hours breaking the game down. Our plans are very simple and that’s key in this game. You allow players to make decisions throughout the course of the game. If your plans are too rigid, you can actually stop people performing.”

Share this article

Similar Articles