Sri Lanka take flak af­ter ‘dis­grace­ful’ cricket de­feat

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Sri Lanka’s crick­eters faced a bar­rage of crit­i­cism yes­ter­day a day af­ter their se­ries loss to bot­tom-ranked Zim­babwe in what is be­ing de­scribed as a new low for the be­lea­guered side. Zim­babwe notched their first win abroad in eight years af­ter claim­ing the one-day in­ter­na­tional se­ries against Sri Lanka 3-2, em­bar­rass­ing a home side that has strug­gled with fit­ness, losses and coach­ing up­heaval. “Sri Lankan cricket has reached its low­est point and it could well be the point of no re­turn. Now that the 11th ranked Zim­babwe have beaten them, we won­der what ex­cuse is in store,” de­clared lo­cal news­pa­per Is­land. “Dis­grace” read a head­line in the lo­cal Daily Mir­ror, while an­other news­pa­per said Sri Lanka’s cricket was “in the dol­drums”. Their de­feat came hot on the heels of their early exit from the Cham­pi­ons Tro­phy and a drub­bing by Sports Min­is­ter Dayasiri Jayasek­era, who ac­cused the na­tional side of be­ing over­weight and un­fit to com­pete on the world stage. Play­ers were given three months to get in shape or face the boot. The side be­gan the five-match se­ries against Zim­babwe with­out a coach af­ter Gra­ham Ford quit on the eve of the tour­na­ment, just half­way through his 45-month con­tract.

Sri Lanka’s cricket board el­e­vated field­ing coach Nic Pothas for the se­ries while they searched for a re­place­ment for Ford. “You can’t ex­pect Pothas to per­form mir­a­cles,” said a se­nior cricket of­fi­cial, ask­ing not to be named.

“There were sev­eral fac­tors that con­trib­uted to the (lat­est) hu­mil­i­a­tion.” A lack of prepa­ra­tion and poor se­lec­tion de­ci­sions com­pounded prob­lems for the home side, who ap­peared to un­der­es­ti­mate the tourists, the of­fi­cial added. Zim­babwe rank just one place above cricket min­nows Ire­land and have not won abroad since a vic­tory in Kenya in 2009.

Skip­per An­gelo Mathews con­ceded the shock de­feat was a low point in his 187match ODI ca­reer. “This is a hard pill to swal­low. I don’t want to give any ex­cuses... They played bet­ter cricket,” Mathews told the Is­land.

He said he will dis­cuss his fu­ture with se­lec­tors but had not made any de­ci­sions. Sri Lanka faces Zim­babwe in a Test match in Colombo on Fri­day.— AFP

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