After a horror show in the ODIs series against hosts Pakistan, Sri Lanka failed to out any fight in the first of three T-20s. They were bowled out for just 102, a total Pakistan toppled with 7 wickets in hand. Understandably disappointed Lankan head coach Nic Pothas has called for characters in the team if they want to stand any chance of turning around their fortunes. Thursday’s loss was Sri Lanka’s 14th consecutive loss in limited overs wicket.
A visibly upset Pothas said, “I can only think of one word which is character. In the Test side, Kaushal Silva if you take, you can’t put a value on Kaushal Silva. People will look and say that he didn’t get many runs. He gets 20 in 79 balls and he makes life a lot easier for the middle order. He dries peoples’ gloves, he is there to support people, and he dives around the field and saves a million runs. You take that guy anywhere with you, in white ball cricket, we are looking at people who can do similar stuff. We are looking for that kind of team man”.
Pothas did praise his bowlers, “The bowlers have been brilliant. At one point we were ahead of the game. Throughout the series, we have lost wickets in a clump and that’s the reason why we have not been able to win. That’s something we need to resolve. Pakistan lost two early wickets and then experienced guys like Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik – with over 200 ODIs under their belt – batted without taking any risks. We need to put runs on the board to put pressure on their batsmen.
Pothas concluded, “It is impossible to stimulate things in practice. If you don’t have someone who bowls 90 miles an hour it is difficult to stimulate that in practice. If you don’t have the quality of Shadab Khan’s leg-spin, it is tough to stimulate that. It is pretty simple. You play Australia, how do you stimulate 145kmph left-arm pace at training? You try and do all what you can; you try to be creative to get close as you can. But in the heat of the battle it’s more than skill that gets you to what you want.”
The second T-20 will be played today (October 27) in Sharjah Cricket stadium before the two sides head to Pakistan for the first time since 2009’s terrorist attack on the Lankan team bus, something which led to the cancellation of International cricket in Pakistan.