He doesn’t doubt their skills but newly-appointed coach Mickey Arthur feels education on various aspects of the game is the need of the hour for Sri Lankan cricketers.
“We have got a set of players who are very skilled and we just need to educate them a little bit in terms of game plans, strategy and match management. We need to make them understand when to take risks and when not,” Arthur said on Thursday. In his first assignment in the new job, Arthur said his prime focus now is to get the balance of the team right and unearth players for specific roles in the little outing Sri Lanka has before the T20 World Cup.
The 51-year-old said the number of talented players India is constantly producing in world cricket speaks volumes about their bench strength. “India is tying some really good players and there is abundance of talent here. The players that they bring in just stand up and do their job. It shows how strong structure they have now,” said Arthur, who has also coached Pakistan, Australia and South Africa in the past.
Asked why former captain Angelo Mathews was not picked in the playing eleven for the second T20 in Indore, which they lost by seven wickets, Arthur reasoned. “The only reason we didn’t play him (Mathews) was simply because we were starting from where Sri Lankan finished in their last T20 series. And he (Mathews) hasn’t played for 16 months in this squad.”
With batsmen dominating bowlers in T20 cricket, the Sri Lankan coach said it is time to strike a balance between bat and ball.
“I think pitches. When the pitches offer a little bit for the bowlers, it’s really good. Getting rid of the powerplay? I’m not sure. Look, I don’t think spectators wanna come to games and just see sixes and fours. It gets a bit boring,” Arthur said.
“I think you want to see bouncers and slower balls. You want to see the bowlers getting a little bit advantage. That could be spin bowlers as well. So, I think pitches and ground size too. The grounds are too small and they don’t aid spinners then.”
Arthur said now-a-days it is difficult for any batting team to set a target in T20 cricket. “The wickets here (in India) are really good, so you have to score 170s. I have told players that try and put targets in T20 cricket because sometimes you go out there thinking I will get 180 and take too many risks while setting and then get all out for 140 and later realise that maybe 150 could have won us the game,” he said.