Amidst the shuffling of officials and the exchange of the captain’s arm-band, newly appointed Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene acknowledged that there was immense pressure on the team after the dismal show it had put on recently.
Sri Lanka, runners-up in this year’s World Cup, lost Test and One-Day International series against South Africa, Australia, Pakistan and England and have also been hit by the resignation of captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, while the country’s cricket board sacked coach Geoff Marsh in a bid to turn around the team’s fortunes.
Jayawardene, who was replaced by Kumar Sangakkara as captain in 2009, said the players ‘never got a chance to explain their position’ and were mercilessly criticised.
“The pressure was increasing from all directions,” said Jayawardene. “It was understandable that there was pressure to perform but we never got a chance to explain ourselves.”
Jayawardene’s first assignment is the upcoming triangular series in Australia featuring the hosts and India and the right-handed batsman said the team was ready to accept the challenge.
“We’re prepared to accept all the challenges. These two are formidable sides but we’re going with a positive frame of mind and the right approach.”
The experienced campaigner, who has played 28 of his 128 Tests as captain and led the team in 97 of his 359 ODIs, said he was disappointed with his own form but vowed a strong comeback.
Ranatunga slams Marsh’s sacking
Meanwhile, Arjuna Ranatunga slammed his country’s sacking of Marsh as ‘disgraceful’ and ‘unprofessional’. after the Australian was replaced by Graham Ford.
“It’s disgraceful the way Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) handled it by removing a professional like Marsh,” Ranatunga told AFP.
“Top coaches and physios will think twice before they accept a job from Sri Lanka in the future. The SLC has set a very bad precedent.”
Marsh had begun a two-year contract in September 2011 and did not comment on his dismissal, while the SLC has not given any reason for showing him the door.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 27th, 2012.