Monday, 14 December 2015

Famous for Tea and Cricket - The state of Sri Lankan Cricket

They appeared on the competitive cricket radar in the 1980's and soon built themselves a reputation, climbing up the ODI initially and as their player base improved, then up the test rankings too.  Many players became household names and helped give credibility to their status on those rankings.
From the comical to the very good, players came and stayed but most of all, they performed and teams they played respected their position.  In those first 30 odd years players have come and gone, but generally they have had a steady player roster.  And heroes were born. Ranatunga, Jayasuriya, Muralithiran, Vaas and Malinga to name a few.  However they have struggled since Murali retired, only being held together by Jayawardene and Sangakkara.

But this year saw the double retirement of both those last two, and sadly they leave Sri Lanka Cricket in a dire state.  Sure losing your first choice wicketkeeper doesn't help win test matches, but a depleted batting line up and a bowling unit that exists purely on spin will not, for the foreseeable future, be the way to keep a winning percentage.  But also take on-board the fact that SL aren't always on the wrong end of results.  They did well at home and had that huge series win in England last year.
The reason for this blog is to highlight a problem in world cricket, exacerbated by the likes of the issues with West Indies, Zimbabwe and I am foreseeing Sri Lanka will also fall before they get some talent in that side.  But apart from Zimbabwe, the West Indies players are suckered by T20 and Sri Lanka ODI's (Malinga e.g.).  Test cricket stocks in all these countries is in such a state that something needs to be done to rekindle the fire.  Perhaps the ICC pumps funding into player contracts in a Test World Cup every 5 years with all countries contracted and signed in please to play the iconic brand.  T20 is undoing cricket, real cricket, so we lock that as hit and giggle bums on seats and TV, and have contracted 5 day, 3 test series.  ODI's are gone.

Ok that's my bit for today.  Below are the matches Sri Lanka and New Zealand (Home/Away) have played in last 20 years up to this first test.

NZ Home matches 11, Away matches 9.  Tests won by NZ - 9, Drawn 4 and Lost 7.

1995  H  Lost  241 runs
          H  Draw
1997  H  Won  Innings and 36runs
          H  Won  120 runs
1998  A  Won  167 runs
          A  Lost   Innings and 16 runs
          A  Lost  164 runs
2003  A  Draw
          A  Draw
2005  H  Draw
          H  Won  Innings and 38 Runs
2006  H  Won  5 Wickets
          H  Lost  217 Runs
2009  A  Lost  202 Runs
          A  Lost  96 runs
2012  A  Lost  10 Wickets
          A  Won  167 Runs
2014  H  Won 8 Wickets
2015  H  Won  193 runs
          H  Won 122 Runs

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