Having followed the colorful and esteemed careers of Sangakkara and Jayawardene very closely, I feel for Sri Lankan cricket, which is currently starting at an bottomless pit. They just seem to have forgotten the art of winning. The more you think about their glorious past, the more it burns. For all those legends they had produced, they had a great support cast as well, for every Ranatunga, there was a Hashan Tillakaratne, for every Jayasuriya there was a Atapattu, for every Sangakkara there was a Dilshan, for every Jayawardene there was a Samaraweera, for every Murali, there was a Vaas. Unfortunately due to combination of administrative issues and poor domestic strucuture, players that are coming through the assembly line have not been able to meet their potential.
Kusal Mendis was touted as the next big star, he has fallen by the way side. Angelo Matthews was supposedly Sri Lanka’s answer to the fabled big three of Kohli, Smith and Williamson, but he has fallen off the cliff, Akila Dhananjaya was earmarked to be the next Ajanta Mendis, but now he is struggling to find a place in the eleven.
The fact that Dinesh Chandimal can’t make this depleted squad is a mystery. I am sure he is not worst off than some of the batsmen who have been thrown in the firing line against India. There are deep-rooted issues to be sorted out if Sri Lanka are to revive their fledgling fortunes.
There is a clear leadership vacuum in that setup and their musical chairs approach to captaincy epitomizes that. They are in dire need of a leader, either in administration or within the team to stand up and steer them through these choppy waters, someone to nurture and give direction to the talent.
As for India, they would be happy to pull out a victory from the jaws of defeat, but with all due respect how much should we read into it, given the problems Sri Lanka are engulfed in. As a cricket fan, I echo the pain of Arjuna Ranatunga,who is a proud Sri Lankan, there was agony and emotion attached to his comment, “second string side”, but current reality is that Sri Lanka have come up short again, even against India’s inexperienced, but immensely talented future stars. For the pink health of world cricket, a competitive Sri Lanka is a must, and I hope the chaos of dark clouds soon turns into bright sunshine and their cricket comes back on its feet, which is currently gasping for breath.