Shanghai Daily

In­fight­ing blamed for cri­sis in Sri Lanka

CRICKET

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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.”

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