Infighting blamed for crisis in Sri Lanka
SQUAD politics, bickering and undue influence by player agents are to blame for the Sri Lanka cricket team’s plummeting form, according to the country’s sports minister.
Mahindananda Aluthgamage told parliament on Wednesday that, by the players’ own admission, disunity and miscommunication were causing the team’s losing streak and not government interference — as some critics have argued.
Sri Lanka has not won a test match in the 14 matches since ace spin bowler Muttiah Muralitharan retired last year.
It has lost series to England, Australia and Pakistan while drawing a largely rain-curtailed series against the West Indies. Sri Lanka has also lost three one-day international series during the period.
In South Africa yesterday, it was bowled for 180 before tea on day one of the test series opener.
Much of the downturn has coincided with a failure to pay national team players their wages and match fees.
Sri Lanka Cricket owes its players US$6 million, according to the Federation of International Cricketers’ Associations, and has not paid them since March.
Aluthgamage said that he summoned a meeting of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, senior players, coaches and the management to discuss the reasons for the poor performance and the players admitted to several shortcomings.
“At this moment, senior players stated that there’s a communication gap between the captain and the main coach,” Aluthgamage said.
“It was also highlighted that there was a communication gap between the main coach and the other coaches, that there was no proper understanding between the senior players and the new comers, and that the captain does not get the fullest support from the senior players.”