October 3, 2022
Asia Cup 2022 – Dasun Shanaka

Sri Lanka’s white-ball captain Dasun Shanaka refused to take credit for the team’s Asia Cup win and instead praised his players for making their job easier.

“When Vanindu goes and gives some advice to a young player, it is very useful a lot of the time. Similarly, we always take advice from the players before taking a decision. That is why it makes my job easier; Can’t take credit for it, because a team that includes everyone deserves credit.”

Although he is not wrong. This Sri Lanka side is the quintessential ‘greater than the sum of their parts’ unit – it is unlikely that many of their players will find their way into the starting XI of any of the other top T20I sides.

Yet they have registered five consecutive wins to lift the Asia Cup. A win that seemed impossible, especially when they were trampled by Afghanistan in the opening game of the tournament. Their chances of winning the tournament were already slim, and anyone fell on the boundary line after that defeat. But Shanaka never panicked.

The elements in the creation of this kind of victory are a strategy, but for Shanaka, taking a more democratic approach to decision-making and keeping his players comfortable and an optimal mindset to showcase his skills in high-pressure situations. Being in was just as important.

“As a captain, the best thing I can do is to give a player the confidence to showcase his skills.” They said. “I don’t even bother if they make a mistake. A lot of cricket is about emotions, if you can control your emotions, you can go very far as a team.

“I don’t like to put limits and pressure on players. If you put a limit on a player, you can’t get the best out of them on the field. Making them feel good on the field is as important as being well off “As a side, we have started to understand it. So the players were quite comfortable and then the results came.”

“The loss for Afghanistan was unexpected. We never expected to lose like this – they were not the team we expected to lose like this”

The loss to Afghanistan was Sri Lanka’s first and last tournament, with each subsequent victory being more impressive than the previous one. What they were seeing at home and in the stands for the Sri Lankan fans was hardly believable. Was it really the same team that lost the home and overseas series to Australia, and lost widely to India earlier this year? Shanaka understands their apprehensions, though he himself never shared such feelings of uncertainty – even though Sri Lanka were bowled out for 105 by Afghanistan.

“Initially, the goal was to make the second round and do well in the tournament, because we felt we had a good side,” he said. “But the loss to Afghanistan was unexpected. We never expected to lose like this – they were not a team we expected to lose like that. We were well prepared in the tournament, our fitness level was very good “We just needed to trust him. So we didn’t panic or things changed because we knew we had the talent in the team.”

One of the most impressive aspects of Sri Lanka’s performance was that their victories almost exclusively came in a must-win scenario – something that makes them all the more memorable. And in such high-stakes games, Shanaka knew that the team that handled the pressure better would always come out on top.

“When you talk about cricket, there is always pressure. You will never play a game without pressure. Nowadays every team is well prepared. The analysis has reached this level now, that we know That teams come in every game. Knowing what our weaknesses are and how we have to play. I have always said that we have good variety, be it batting or bowling. As a captain, we have to It’s always good to have the best chance of winning.”

Sri Lanka’s next assignment is the T20 World Cup in Australia, for which they will have to qualify first. Preparations for the tournament will begin on September 25, when the team leaves for a training camp in Pallekele, Kandy – where the pitches are as close to those in Australia as can be found in Sri Lanka.

“I think our skill level is pretty high, while our fitness level is also really good. The only thing is looking at how well we can adapt to the conditions. [in Australia], So the camp in Kandy will help our players to get used to the conditions similar to Australia, so we will get a better idea of ​​batting and bowling. We also toured Australia earlier this year, which would have given the players a better understanding of how to play in those conditions.”

The fact that this Sri Lankan side is largely made up of players who have not yet reached the traditional peak years also gives Shanaka reason for optimism for the future.

“The average age of the side is only 24-25 years. Pathum Nisanka, Charit Aslanka, Vanindu Hasaranga, they are still 23-24 years old. A player’s best years are usually between 28 and 33 years of age, so Even reach that level, there is still some five years left. It is looking like I say our future looks good. Similarly, Dilshan Madushanka is just 21 years old, Mahesh Thekshana 22 years old If those cricketers continue to grow well, our cricket will be well looked after for at least the next ten years.”

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