A good foundation a must in Cricket
Daily Mirror Editorial
Nov 12, 2011

An important lesson that Sri Lanka Cricket had learnt since the departure of their two champion bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas was that one cannot win test matches only with their batting strength.

The two champions served the country for almost two decades and patrolled the two ends of the wickets with their combination of spin and pace to keep the rival teams in check. It was up to Vaas to dismantle the top order and he regularly did it while Murali picked on the middle and lower order.

So much so both cricketers together were responsible for 2,108 international wickets during their careers a colossal count at any level of the game.

These two bowlers also had one common factor in them. Both cricketers came through the ranks and had a good basic input into their cricketing skills. This later turned into one of the best assets in their careers. Once they passed the initial stages on the international arena they had the capacity to turn that basic input into lethal marksmanship because they had their initial training under good coaches.may be that is why the majority of the champion batsmen Sidath Wettimuny, Duleep Mendis, Roy Dias, Ranjan Madugalle, Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinha, Aravinda de Silva, Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardena and Kumar Sangakkara learnt their basics at a tender age under good coaches.

Especially Sangakkara who confesses that he did not have an exceptional school career had the ability to convert his skills into one of the best ever in international cricket because he learned his basics at lower grades while at school.

However since the late 1980s when Sri Lankans were fledglings in the international arena- the interest in cricket began to gradually build up in the outstations. But, when the World Cup was won by Sri Lanka in 1996 the interest spread to unprecedented levels. In fact the interest was there, but the kids that were taking on to the game lacked that basic insight that the cricketers whom we discussed had early in their careers.

Just imagine there are 2,700 cricketers who play the game at under-19 level and they wish to represent the country someday. In plain numbers the count is huge. At the same time there is a huge input from the outstations into the national grid at present. Ironically these talented cricketers lack that quality basic input at the early stages and when it comes to national level they cannot sustain their form and fall prey to early injuries and other problems. So, it is good news that the SLC Cricket Committee is proposing the development of the game at a blocked out provincial system with trained coaches, selectors and rest of the cricketing gamut. This is the system that Sri Lanka lacked since it entered the big scene four decades ago and it is up to the Minister of Sports to keep such moves in mind when he does decide to make changes in the administrative system in the country.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka