Former wicketkeeper-batsman Romesh Kaluwitharana believes Sri Lanka have enough firepower in their current crop of players to revive their fortunes. Coming off a dismal year in 2017, wherein Sri Lanka lost 40 out of 57 international games across all formats, the 1996 cricket World Cup winners have reappointed all-rounder Angelo Mathews as their captain.
Sri Lanka have also roped in Chandika Hathurusingha as their head coach, following his successful stint with the Bangladesh cricket team.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the jersey launch for the upcoming Mumbai Masters Premier T20 League 2018, Kaluwitharana said, “There are more than 3-4 players who can do it for the national team, get the team back on track, play competitive cricket and get the winning momentum going. It is (a) matter of time that the players have their confidence level high and believe in being themselves.
“All teams go down the course for some time; you have good times and bad times. They are not doing well at the moment, but definitely, in the time to come, they will come back strong. I hope they do it pretty fast.”
When asked if he has a few names in mind who can help bring Sri Lanka back on track, Kaluwitharana said, “No, it is not fair for someone who is a young player and better than senior players. There are 5-6 good players (who) can get (the) Sri Lanka team back on the track.”
“There are people who are doing it, seeing where it (is) going wrong. They will do the right thing,” he added.
Reacting to India’s defeat in the opening Test against South Africa in Cape Town, Kaluwitharana said, “It is quite different than the other times you play in South Africa. They are making green and fast wickets. Playing positive cricket will be the key; India will come back strong.
“When you are playing in different conditions, especially in Australia and South Africa, everybody is going to be tested. The guys who will have strong mind(s) will come back strong.”
The 48-year-old said Sri Lanka struggled to find his replacement for a long time, but he decided to retire once he saw Kumar Sangakkara playing.
“I retired when I saw (Kumar) Sangakkara was coming in. We played together and I thought to give him a go. We had tried nine wicketkeepers but all the time I got the nod. When I saw Sanga I thought he was the one,” he revealed.
Kaluwitharana, who took up coaching following his retirement, says he never got recognition for his work. “I have been coaching for 11 years, but never got recognition. The current team (has) 95 per cent of the players during my time when I was coaching (sic),” he said.
“Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera and (Dinesh) Chandimal and even (Niroshan) Dickwella, all these players who are playing now and are top guns, all are my players. But I never got credit for anyone (laughs),” he added. (Courtesy Hindustan Times)