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Sunday, 20 March 2016





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Sri Lanka wary of Gayle factor

BANGALORE: The impact a player like Chris Gayle has on Twenty20 cricket has got teams searching for answers to stop this devastating run machine from taking the game away from them with his bludgeoning bat.

Angelo Mathews

Chris Gayle

Gayle was on full display in West Indies' opening World T20 game against England where he smacked a 47-ball century and Sri Lanka who will come up against him at the Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Sunday need to have a well laid out plan to pick up his wicket early.


"We have put a few things in place in the past. In 2012 we did quite nicely against him. Whether that still works - we'll find out," said Sri Lanka head coach Graham Ford at the pre-match press conference. "We're certainly not going to be telling everybody what we did in those two games to keep him quiet. It's something that we are aware of in our group. It's certainly something we'll be trying to do again in this game."

Despite his domination of the bowling against other opposition Sri Lanka has somehow found a way to pick up his wicket cheaply. In five T20 internationals against Sri Lanka, Gayle averages 19 with one half century and strike rate of 83.

Comparing the two sides Ford said, "They are a very tough side. Everybody knows the wonderful T20 cricket they are capable of playing. We're still a side that's very much looking at the work that we do and the way that we play the game - the basics needs to be put in place.

"There's going to be a big focus on doing our basics well. We know T20 cricket is a funny old game and all sorts of things can happen. At the same time we need to come up with one or two plans to try and neutralise the players they have in their side. We're quietly chatting about a few things, and execution of those things is important."


Sri Lanka the defending champions are a team in transition but Ford said, "We've lost a few big guns. But we're not talking about that. We're focusing on the players that we have got, and making sure they keep improving. If they keep improving, they'll pay us back down the line. Whether they pay us back immediately in this tournament, or further down the line, we have to wait and see. It's good to see the progress that some of our guys are making, and the way they are adapting to roles that they previously didn't have to execute."

The loss of fast bowler Lasith Malinga, Ford said was immeasurable and added: "It's a huge impact. One has got to be realistic. The management and selectors are aware that it's a different side at the moment. But there is exciting talent. It's about growing that talent as quickly as we can. Inexperienced players do make mistakes. With Lasith it's not just his experience but also his brilliant execution of skill. For so long he's done that death bowling role. For so long he's been able to strike upfront and then finish the innings off so well.

Momentum "Finishing the innings is so important for momentum etc. Now we've got to find somebody to do that. That's a change for us. But it's definitely had its effect. The group of lads that I've got - and the one thing I know about Sri Lankan cricket - is that they are great tryers. They are great workers. There are a couple of guys putting their hands up and saying, "I'll do that job". With that sort of attitude I'm sure we can make something happen."

Vandersay to replace Malinga

Sri Lanka Cricket selectors have picked young leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay as the replacement for injured fast bowler Lasith Malinga for the remaining matches of the ongoing ICC World T20 World Cup in India.

Malinga was forced to return home after failing a fitness test on his injured left knee. The ICC technical committee has approved the change to the team.

Vandersay was originally picked in the squad by the former selection committee headed by Kapila Wijegunawardene but was replaced by fast bowler Suranga Lakmal by the present selection committee chaired by Aravinda de Silva.


Seylan Sure
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