Ford warning over ageing Sri Lanka stars


The Sri Lanka coach Graham Ford has warned that the team needs to start producing cricketers capable of replacing the star names in the side otherwise they will struggle to compete at international level.
Ford’s assessment comes in the wake of captain Mahela Jayawardene stating that he would reassess his future after the current tour of Australia. Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Thilan Samaraweera, who form the core of the team’s batting, are all in their mid-thirties and the team needs to guard against being hit by mass retirements.
“What is really important for Sri Lanka cricket now is be aware that some of these players – superstars who have done great service to the game – are not going to be around for that much longer and an emerging player program of real intensity needs to be put in place urgently,” Ford said. “We need to start producing some more superstars and we need it to happen pretty quickly. That I see as a very important part, as to the future for Sri Lanka.”
Ford praised the role played by the senior figures in the dressing room at setting an example for the younger players coming into the game. He has tried to instil the notion of personal responsibility within the team and believes he is starting to see the benefit of that approach coming through.
“Some of them have done fantastically well and are very professional,” he said. “We also have a few young guys who have come in and who have quite a bit to learn. Our coaches need to be a little bit different from player to player. The example set by some of the senior players is fantastic for the younger guys coming through. If we can keep that going, in time it will become part of the cricketing culture in the dressing room.
“I’ve really tried to introduce the adult approach in terms of players taking on the responsibility for their preparations and their performances. The coaching staff is always available to support them in whatever way they need, but they must make decisions about their cricket and how they are going to go about their business and for them to implement those decisions. I am really trying to get each individual to be as professional as possible.”
Ford took over in controversial circumstances after Sri Lanka Cricket suddenly terminated the services of Geoff Marsh after just two tours to England and South Africa last year. He is thankful for the support given to him by Jayawardene, especially in helping to overcome some language barriers.


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