Two struggling teams have found inspiration from somewhere to revive their fortunes dramatically and provide a shot in the arm for world cricket.
First it was the West Indies, who beat England convincingly at home. Then Sri Lanka clinched a historic victory away in South Africa, the first Asian team to do so.
What these two teams have done in retrospect is that they have restored balance in the cricket pecking order just in time for the World Championship of Test cricket.
With both Australia and England, once powerhouses of the game, sadly declining, there was an urgent need for other teams to raise their hands and mount a challenge.
Series wins for both sides was a long time coming. Both teams have been plagued by problems over the last few years in terms of official powerhouses and poor selection.
Sri Lanka’s case is interesting. They were world beaters until their three giants – Mahela Jayawardene, Kumara Sangakkara and Muttiah Muralitharan – retired. Though they did have many promising players to step into their shoes, the Sri Lankans were often let down by bad selection policies and government interference.
The selectors played Russian roulette with the team most times and promising players were often dropped in favour of players who were just ordinary.
With the first-class structure in the country not among the greatest, heavy domestic scoring won over potential and talent. Such was the biased attitude of the selectors that even the seniors had to often question their policies.
Then all teams have to be certified by the sports ministry before taking the field. This reflects very poorly on Sri Lankan cricket.
One of the backbone of the current team, former captain Angelo Mathews, was recently dropped on flimsy grounds, with the coach stating that he was physically unfit.
Just before the South Africa tour, the often criticised captain Dinesh Chandimal was dropped due to lack of form. Chandimal has always been one of the best batsman in the island but time and again he has the sacrificial lamb of the side.
Kusal Mendis was once dropped for the important tour to India last year due to lack of form. That was the pits because Mendis is a star performer who played a vital innings to clinch the South Africa series.
Players like Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella and Oshada Fernando are the players for the future. Mendis and De Silva have the class to be long-term players and they must be persisted through thick and thin.
Ably led by Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka have a potent pace attack. The spin department will sort itself out as there is plenty of talent available.
Sri Lanka’s downhill slide has been halted finally and the time has come to set things right. And that time is now.
The core of a good team is in place. Mathews and Chandimal’s return will further strengthen the side. Sri Lanka must ride the wave of success and become world beaters again with their exciting brand of cricket.
That’s what cricket needs.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
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