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Identify players for World Cup, support them: Kumar Sangakkara

The five-time winners crashed out in the first round after humiliating defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

cricket Updated: Sep 26, 2018 14:41 IST
Rex Clementine
Rex Clementine
Hindustan Times, Dubai
kumar sangakkara,world cup,asia cup
Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara (R) talks with Sri Lankan coach Chandika Hathurusingha (C) and batting coach Thilan Samaraweera (AFP)

Former Test captain Kumar Sangakkara has urged the Sri Lankan team to rethink its strategies moving forward after the team’s failed campaign in the six-nation Asia Cup tournament.

The five-time winners crashed out in the first round after humiliating defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

“We need to find out whether we have the right strategy in place. Whether we should change it or stick to it. Results on tours are important, but the larger picture should be the 2019 World Cup. We need to have a settled batting lineup. We need to identify the openers, identify who our number three is going to be and who is going to bat at number six and things like that.

“Those players whom we have identified need to be given an extended run. You need to have specific chats with players explaining what is expected of each of them.”

Some of the changes that Sri Lanka did during the Asia Cup like reversing the roles of Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera backfired. While Mendis opened the innings, Perera batted at number four. Mendis was dismissed without scoring on both occasions.

“The confidence levels drop if they are moved up and down. You need to identify the engine room of the batting lineup from number one to four and others should play around them. With two new balls, your openers are vital. Number three and four are very important as well and they have to shoulder most of the burden in batting.

“Then, of course, number five and six, they need to be able to accelerate and, in case if there’s a top order collapse, they should be able to steady the innings. They need to clarify the roles and have an idea what is required of each player,” Sangakkara said.

“Why they have inconsistent results is that they are yet to get settled. They need to build a team culture, a team strategy. They need to persevere with a set of players consistently for the biggest tournament in cricket.”

(Writer is a senior Sri Lankan cricket journalist and his views are personal)

First Published: Sep 26, 2018 14:41 IST