Sangathy
Sports

Cricket’s future in good hands says Under-19 coach Mubarak

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka’s Under-19s completed a tour of England last week where they played two unofficial Test matches and three one-dayers. While the Sri Lankans triumphed in the Test series, they lost all three limited over games. The tour highlighted several promising young talents and gave players a taste of what playing cricket in other conditions meant. Some of the younger members of the squad were getting out of the country for the first time and it was a whole new experience for them.

All three limited over games were closely contested and were won by England. Sri Lanka had wanted to give all the players they had taken on tour a game so in a way, they were handicapped as the full strength didn’t feature in these games.

“We were in the game on all three occasions. It was hard with all the rain as we didn’t know what a good score was. Not disappointed with the way we played though. Spirit of the team was very good and lot of positives to take from the tour,” Jehan Mubarak, who was on his first assignment as Sri Lanka Under-19 coach told The Island.

“What I would say is that everyone we took on the tour are equally talented. Some might develop at the under-19 stage while some others develop when they start playing club cricket. There are also players who develop when they are 25. Ranuda Somaratne is right up there among the players who impressed us. Anjala Bandara batted really well too pulling us out of tough situations and enabling us to post competitive totals during the one-dayers. The other wicketkeeper, Lahiru Dewatage, who kept in Tests also did well. Trevin Mathew has a lot of potential. Malsha Tarupathi and Duvindu Ranatunga, the two young guys, I see them playing a big part as well moving forward. They are still 16 and they will be available for the next World Cup.”

“Asitha Wanninayake looks a very good long format player with good temperament and ability to bat for a long period of time. Shevon Daniel scored an outstanding hundred in Derby that enabled us to get into a strong position. I expected him to do much better in the one-dayers but that didn’t happen.”

The standout performer among the players was Ranuda Somaratne, who smashed 65 and 120 not out in the first Test at Chelmsford. The Trinity College batter also posted two half-centuries in the one-day leg of the tour. Somaratna’s approach in the second innings of Chelmsford was impressive as Sri Lanka slumped to 48 for four in pursuit of 273 runs in 59 overs.

“The main thing was his intent and strike rotations. When you are chasing totals, it’s important to put the opposition under pressure. If the opposition doesn’t have to worry about boundaries, they won’t; mind it. Ranuda kept the pressure on England bowlers by picking up boundaries. The moment the target fell below 100, England went on the defensive spreading the field. The way Ranuda batted impacted how everyone else batted.”

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