Sri Lanka’s head coach Graham Ford sees bright future of young Sri Lankan team. His comments came in the wake of Sri Lanka’s quite impressive performance in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England and Wales. Sri Lankan failed to qualify for the semi-final, but Ford has sparked among the young players who are keen to do well.
“I’m looking forward to playing on in the format – as long as I’m good enough to play in the team. If the selectors choose me for the next World Cup, I’m ready to play.”
In a Group B match, Sri Lankan held their nerves and defeated India by seven wickets while chasing stiff target 322. Ford felt the top order’s modest showings in the other games were down to inexperience – Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka and Asela Gunaratne having played fewer than 30 ODIs.
“If you look at the number of caps in the India side, and the number of caps in ours, we’re vastly inexperienced, yet we outplayed them completely,” Ford said. “I do feel that with inexperience, we’re not going to get those performances every day of the week. We are going to have disappointments. But as time goes by – some of our players have played 20-odd or fewer than 20 ODIs – and they get to 80, 90, 100 ODIs, these guys are going to win us a lot of games. That win was against the team everyone is talking about being favourites to win the tournament.”
Meanwhile, Ford also believed that the loss against Pakistan was not without positives. Sri Lanka had a good chance to qualify for the semi-final, they goofed up chances for catches and run-out which cost them the match against Pakistan as they lost by three-wicket.
Sri Lankan bowlers did a good job but fielders failed to support the bowlers.
“The game against Pakistan, unfortunately, we didn’t play very well. But look at the attitude and the fight we showed – South Africa lost their game, and they just disappeared. We looked out of that game when Pakistan were 76 (they were 74) without loss chasing a moderate total, and somehow our boys found a way to fight back and get us into a winning position.
“The character that these guys continue to show is really exciting. If we get a bit of experience among the younger players and we continue to keep that fight – that kind of spirit is really important if we’re going to build and become a highly competitive team. We were trying to win, but I think there are other teams going back from the Champions Trophy with far less positives and far less to really get excited about than we have.”
Sri Lanka will play their next series against Zimbabwe at home.