Thirimanne at a loss to explain Sri Lanka’s slump

Sharjah: Lahiru Thirimanne, the Sri Lankan captain, may have found the questions from the media tougher than the tight bowling of the Pakistan bowlers after the fourth One Day International against Pakistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium — which saw his team crash to their fourth straight defeat of the series.

Though Thirimanne top scored with a fighting 62 to show his teammates how to handle the Pakistan bowling and stay at the wicket, he had no answers to most of the questions on his team’s pathetic show and seven-wicket defeat.

Answering to a query whether Sri Lankan batting is failing because of a lack of plan or due to technical faults of the batsmen, Thirimanne said: “We had a plan, we had discussions but nothing is working. I don’t think it is technical problem, but it is more to do with mental stuff. We have talent and there is no doubt about it. We have won matches earlier. This team is a good team. But these things keep on happening.”

Thirimanne then explained that his team has discussed everything that needs to be done to win a match. “We have spoken a lot and chatted about how to go about things. We discussed rotating the strike and hitting boundaries and stuff like that but none of it’s working for us at the moment. One more game left and we can’t let that game go. Somehow, we have to win that one.”

Thirimanne admitted that his team has repeatedly failed against Pakistan left-arm and leg spinners. “Throughout the series, we have struggled against them — both rotating the strike and hitting boundaries. We are struggling against their spinners and that is why we are giving away wickets to (medium pacer) Hasan Ali.”

Thirimmane further said that the wicket wasn’t a tough one to bat on. “It was a good wicket to bat on. Like Abu Dhabi it wasn’t too hard, the ball was coming on but we still lost too many wickets in the middle period. Hence we failed to post a big target.”

When Thirimanne was reminded that it is his team’s 11th consecutive defeat in ODIs, he said: “Batting has been disappointing, especially in the middle overs. When you have good wickets against good attacks you should know how to score runs. Players have to take responsibility as a batting group. All players, including me, need to take the responsibility. We should know how to start an innings, how to build and how to finish it off. Out of the six batsmen that we play, at least four need to take responsibility.”

Is it time to overhaul the squad? “Right now we have 16 players. We are having an ‘A’ team touring West Indies, where there are good players. This is also not a bad team. We have talent but unfortunately, we had a bad time for two series on the trot. We have to overcome this somehow.”

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