By Srian Obeyesekere
The drafting of Sri Lanka’s former batting sensation Sanath Jayasuriya, largely credited with changing one-day cricket on its head, as the country’s Consultant Coach is a far-reaching step to strengthening the current fragile batting department following Sri Lanka’s recent world cup debacle.
Sri Lanka crashed out of the 2023 world cup in the very early stages that raised concerns about a weak link batting department that lacked consistency contributing to the downfall which led to Jayasuriya, the once world-renowned batter dubbed the Master Blaster being singled out by the cricket authorities to man the pivotal coaching area in the role of Consultant Coach replacing one-time national captain, Mahela Jayawardene.
Indeed, the famous pinch hitter in the job, who was by and large the only batsman in world cricket who took the art of batting by the scuff of its neck by the rare dexterity of square cutting the world’s best of fast bowlers for six in split seconds with the greatest of ease making look simple an executing others wouldn’t dare to attempt, is a step forward to reclaiming the country’s once dominant image when Sri Lanka showed the way to the rest of the world. That was when Jayasuriya held sway as a world great where he dominated the game as a mauler of the ball in the powerplay overs best exemplified by Sri Lanka becoming world cup champions in 1996 with Jayasuriya adjudged the Player of the Series in a landmark achievement. He thus succeeded in ushering a new era in one-day cricket that has since descended to be decided largely by Jayasuriya’s pinch hitting clout.
For a batting great who will bring such a gift of the daring to succeed to the Lankan batting, certainly the Jayasuriya art will be a tremendous asset to reshaping the top order Lankan batting particularly in the 50-over format as well as the shorter 20-over format that have come to fascinate world cricket.
Jayasuriya was one of the former Lankan greats including Muttiah Muralidaran who aired their dismay over the manner in which the Lankan top order came apart at the world cup.