Player fitness and improving the fielding levels is indeed a high priority factor in Sri Lanka’s thrust to mounting the international ladder of ICC team rankings. Presently, Sri Lanka is 7th in Test rankings next to Pakistan, and 8th in ODI rankings next to Bangladesh. In that context, Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara’s stated concern about Sri Lanka player fitness is indeed timely.
Fact of the matter is Sri Lanka had a very good chance of making it to the semi finals of the 2017 Champions Trophy, but crucial dropped catches put paid to that.
That cricket’s gospel slogan ‘Catches win matches’ is a stark pointer to how sacred fielding is knitted to the outcome of matches in a contemporary high intensity climate of competition among top flight teams in world cricket.
The sports minister insisting that he won’t approve any team without player fitness reports so as to overcome overweight problems does certainly have a direct bearing to optimizing fielding standards. Fielding has been a major concern for the cricket authorities since 2015, and despite Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) taking all necessary measures to nip it in the bud the continuing down sliding trend is an area that needs to be plugged at the earliest.
As the minister has pointed out players having to sit out from crucial matches on tour has been a bugging problem as it was during the champion’s trophy.
Thus, prioritizing maximum fitness is imperative to getting the fielding span. spick and span. Big bellies, as the minister has stressed is indeed a sour eye, and in modern cricket’s high tech age certainly tip top fitness needs to be prioritised in Sri Lanka’s campaign to forge among the top bracket teams.
Sri Lanka will host Zimbabwe in five ODIs and one Test match. The tour commences with the first ODI to be played on June 30 at the Galle International Stadium.
Zimbabwe tour of Sri Lanka, 2017 schedule:
Jun 30, Fri
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 1st ODI – Galle International Stadium, Galle
Jul 02, Sun
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI – Galle International Stadium, Galle
Jul 06, Thu
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 3rd ODI – Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota
Jul 08, Sat
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 4th ODI – Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota
Jul 10, Mon
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 5th ODI – Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium, Hambantota
Jul 14, Fri – Jul 18, Tue
Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, Only Test – R.Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-