Sangakkara slams Lanka’s first-class competition

190939.3Kumar Sangakkara has said Sri Lanka’s first-class competition is worse preparation for international cricket than it was when he began his career 17 years ago.

“The thing about our first-class cricket when I started out was that it was much more competitive than now,” he said in an interview with the Cricket Monthly.

“There were more players of quality in the same team, whereas now it’s spread very thin. I don’t know what’s missing now. I definitely remember club cricket being a lot tougher and a lot more intense when I started.”

Sri Lanka’s transitional phase has been marked by young players struggling to stay consistent at the top level, and a high percentage of domestic performers have been jettisoned after failing in internationals. Sangakkara’s impending Test retirement – a year after Mahela Jaywardene bid adieu – is expected to leave a void.

Sri Lanka Cricket’s interim committee is in the process of designing a tournament that aims to produce a higher standard of play than the present Premier League Tournament. However, these plans have faced substantial criticism from sections of the board’s voting membership.

Sangakkara believes that Sri Lanka needs to find a way to distil its talent. “Trevor Bayliss made the comment that when he was coach, we were teaching newcomers how to play first-class cricket while being in the national side,” Sangakkara said. “You want him to be the finished article already.