The Test series against Bangladesh is Sri Lanka's to lose — Arnold

Russel Arnold responds to questions from fans in his weekly column
March 10, 2013

Bangladesh are in Sri Lanka currently for a full tour. © AFP

Do you think Bangladesh will be a serious threat in this Test series or will it be a cakewalk for Sri Lanka?RKV Thurairajah

I don't expect it to be a cakewalk. Even with inexperienced players in the side, I don't see Sri Lanka losing the series. It is the Bangladesh bowling that's not a threat. If Sri Lanka can do the hard work early, pile on runs when conditions are good for batting, I don't see Bangladesh having the X-factors in their team to come from behind. The series is Sri Lanka's to lose and even a draw would be a loss for Sri Lanka.

There are some people who continue to claim that players' agents are "destroying" our cricket and "damaging" to Sri Lankan cricket, but Kumar Sangakkara recently attempted to clear these rumours and allegations. Can you do the same? Is there anything to suggest that this is true? Are agents truly such a big issue?Kanch Bandaranayake

I am not a fan of agents. I don't think all players in Sri Lanka need an agent, but of course a person of the calibre of Kumar would need one with his commitments etc. The requirements differ from person to person, but, from a general point of view, I think from the backgrounds that most Sri Lankan cricketers come from, and also considering other factors, such as life styles and commercial opportunities available in Sri Lanka, players are better off left alone to enjoy playing cricket. The board can help by having a specialised person to help groom, advise and even help with those who need a hand with any issue/matters to ensure life moves on smoothly for them. With most agents, the focus is totally on commercial aspects. Therefore, life becomes complicated - building a brand and so on takes centre stage. With Sri Lanka only offering a very, very small peace of the pie, and not much money to go around, this ends up doing more damage than good.

Will the contract issue affect the team's focus during the Bangladesh Test series?Shehan Seneviratne

No. I think it would only end up bringing them closer together as a unit. The key fact was that it was resolved and the players made a decision to accept. Once you cross that barrier, you move on. If it dragged on, it would have been a distraction. Since it disadvantaged the players, they know the only way is to put in big performances to increase gains.

During the contract crisis, Kumar Sangakkara, who was supposed to play in the warm-up match against Bangladesh, travelled all the way to Matara, but he was prevented from playing in that match. He was injured during the Australia tour, and that match was going to be the first match he would have played since his injury. The cricket board prevented Sangakkara from playing because of the contract issue, but players have played for many months before this without contracts as well. Do you think that such a decision was beneficial to Sri Lankan cricket, and was it a right move to prevent a key player from gaining match practise before a Test tour because he, and all the other players, were yet to sign contracts? Surely it is a poor decision worthy of wide condemnation?Basil F.

It was a policy decision. Yes, it was very disappointing from the players' point of view as well, but the episode ended well. Being the champion that he is, Kumar worked extra hard to play himself in to form. But I agree, the episode was not an ideal situation.

When a decision is referred to the third umpire, the umpire relies on the TV production crew to provide him with replays in order to make the decision. The process relies heavily on a third-party (TV production company) to provide the umpire with the footage. Is there a process in place by the ICC to ensure that the umpire is actually being given all the footage that exists to make the right decision? Most often, the TV production company is from the same country as the home team, and that may influence their ability to be unbiased, and they could send replays that may not be conclusive. Do you know if there is system in place to make sure this doesn't happen? Do the umpires get all replays? In addition, can the third umpire hear the commentators?Imran Ibrahim

There is no process in place, but it is the responsibility of the TV company to provide the footage. The third umpire has a conversation with the director regarding angles and replays he wants on each decision. There are instances where certain angles are not available, or the footage was not clear enough. Viewers see the same footage the third umpire sees and in the same sequence. Commentators can hear the conversation between the director and third umpire, but the third umpire cannot hear the commentators.

What do you think of Australia's defeat in the Test match against India after Michael Clarke declared their first innings?Parimal

The declaration was not the reason for the loss, Clarke tried to seize a moment; batsmen don't like coming out for those short bursts. Looking at the day's play, if he had been able to pick up one wicket, the game would have changed. The mentality coming in to the second day for both teams would have been different. At the end of the day, they were nine down with Pattinson and Doherty in. It was not a situation where another 15 or 20 runs, or burning down and frustrating the opponents, would have changed the course of the game. It was a moment where the mental battle could have been won, which could have changed the game.

Eight of the 11 spots in the Test XI are pretty much secured, therefore, which of the following players would you pick to make up the rest of the XI for the first Test against Bangladesh, and why? Tharindu Kaushal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ajantha Mendis, Shaminda Eranga and Suranga Lakmal.Hirusha Ramanayake

I would have gone with Kithuruwan on his immediate form and also with a view for the long-term future. The same with Kaushal, who has improved with his consistency of late, and Eranga, as he could be very nippy.

Ask Russel Arnold a question »

© Island Cricket


S De Silva's picture

Still think what they did to sanga was wrong!

UppercuT's picture
Member since:
19 October 2011
Last activity:
2 years 8 weeks

Hats off to Russel for NOT giving in to peer pressure in the case of agents :)

Stormy's picture
Member since:
15 January 2011
Last activity:
1 day 12 hours

I am not sure if the player agents issue is that simple. Cricket today is lucrative and in SL cricketers case they are dealing with a "rogue" administration who have on timless occassions shown they are not competent administrators. Asking a cricketer to deal with this I dont believe is fair as it's not straight forward - as we have just seen! The cricketer must concentrate on the game, if he tries to tackle the administrative mob surely this cannot be in the playres best interest.

Gavin's picture
Member since:
27 November 2009
Last activity:
3 years 30 weeks

The cricketers need an independent individual (their managers) or independent authority (players associations) outside of the cricket board to make sure whatever deal their getting from the board is not a raw deal. To have the board appoint someone is ridiculous as that person would not be independent.

Jagath Perera's picture
Member since:
7 April 2010
Last activity:
3 weeks 1 day

Dont take bangladesh so easy. They can win the series too?!! Main problem is with srilanka batting. If we get out for low score in 2nd innings who knows what will happen? If bangladesh even draw this series it will be a like a loss for us.

Mukesh's picture

To whoever who asked the DRS question well done! Superb question and always wanted to know about this.

Anonymous's picture

Looks like Sri Lanka wont be winning this series and it was not because they played badly. Bangladesh just outplayed them.

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