Sri Lanka may have proved a point by springing surprise in their last match against India, bringing the powerhouse neighbors down to earth. Still Sri Lankan legend Kumar Sangakkara has this feeling that the transition period in their cricket is taking “too much time”.
Sangakkara believes that the team has taken too long to fill the void left by the likes of Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.
“The search has probably gone too long,” Sangakkara told Michael Atherton post Sri Lanka’s seven-wicket win over India at the Oval on Thursday (June 8). “We have had two and a half years of it now, looking for replacements for Dilshan, Mahela.
“One of the accusations directed at the management and the team has been that they haven’t groomed anyone to fill those voids,” he said.
“But I think the one man that was identified very early was Dinesh Chandimal, who performed excellently in South Africa, then in England, in Australia. He’s actually had a period where he has been identified as the best young player and was appointed captain probably a bit too soon. Then he was dropped from captaincy, dropped from the team, so he has never had a consistent run in the position that he was identified for.
“I don’t think the environment he’s played in has been very good for his confidence. Every time he takes the field, it’s almost as if he’s playing for his place, for survival, and that’s not a good place for a young player to be.”
Sri Lanka, despite all these problems, are still very much in the ongoing ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales. No one had given them any chance prior to the start of the tournament. And now, after that historic and successful run-chase against India, they are now just one win from the semifinals.
If they can beat Pakistan on Monday in what is virtually a quarterfinal and winner-take-all battle for both the side, they will be through to the semifinals of the second-most coveted 50-over cricket tournament in te world.