When a team contests a three-match or five-match Test series and then goes down 0-2 or 0-4, the experts and the self-styled pundits pontificate that the losing team has got one remaining match to play for what they call ‘pride’.
These pundits are people who have proved time and again that they wake up from slumber which is even worse for the team that they want to associate with pride. For the pride of a team is in winning the series and not winning one match after everything is lost and the winning Opposition has limited motivation or very little to play for.
The Sri Lankan Cricket team is, currently, in this situation of ‘playing for pride’ touted by the pundits.
To be forthright, the Sri Lankan Team as a collective unit has lost all its pride and in no way can they be proud by winning a match in a series that has already being decided and rests with their host South Africa.
The Sri Lankan Team first and foremost must be put through a complete purge and purified not from a competition point of view but from a moral requirement.
It has now become a common occurrence that Sri Lankan players take the public for suckers thinking that the people are with them and that it is their (players) ‘pride’ to demand higher payments. It is far better for a less money- oriented Sri Lanka team to be selected, play and lose than pick a side that loses with heavy payments under their belts.
The current Sri Lanka Team, presently in South Africa, has failed miserably to showcase the country’s image as a cricketing nation. What is worse is not losing the Test series but the fact that South Africa has decided to pull out Sri Lanka from a subsequent series the following year and replace it with India. Both the team and the keepers of Sri Lanka Cricket should hang their heads in shame that a bunch of highly-paid pros was shown the door after a poor performance currently in South Africa.
If Sri Lanka Cricket now thinks it can march into the future by grooming young players and enlisting more backstage experts like consultants and coaches, it is only a pipe dream, hollow thinking on the part of so-called experts.
The truth is that Sri Lanka has been able to produce just three match-winning bowlers (Muralidharan, Vaas and Herath) in a 34-year span while the rest were in and out and only made up the numbers. Even Zimbabwe had more than three world class bowlers.
This is 2017 and Sri Lanka can no longer wait for things to happen, fool the people and try to hobnob with the world’s best following the same old pattern.
To begin with, Sri Lanka Cricket should take the players to task once and for all the next time they demand more pay and incentives which have continuously been incompatible with their on-field performances.
A thorough examination must also be done to ascertain to what extent the role of numerous backstage players like coaches and consultants have paid off and if found negative either replace them or completely scrap the positions as useless. The results over the past 10 or 15 years will offer enough evidence.
But a most important factor is that Sri Lanka stops depending on individuals or poster boys who let down the entire team on days they don’t fire. A team has to have all players who can deliver and not one or two shells for others to hide in or behind. Here is where player-management comes in which has never been the case.
Sri Lanka has lost more players who have come and gone or not made the grade at all despite having the potential to do so because of shortsighted policies or politics of another game.
If for whatever the reason Sri Lanka wins the current third and final Test, maybe due to South Africa playing badly which is unlikely to be the case, it should not in any way be taken as something to be proud of.