Sangakkara, Jayawardene cannot be replaced, says Russel Arnold

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Sangakkara, Jayawardene cannot be replaced, says Russel Arnold

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SportsCafe Desk


Former Sri Lanka all-rounder Russel Arnold believes that it would be wrong to expect that the young players to replace the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Requesting the nation to be patient with the changing team, he demanded the senior players to lead the charge in such a crisis.

Russel Arnold has stated that Sri Lanka are wrong in expecting that the current crop of players would be able to fill in the shoes of retired legends like Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene. He suggested the side should rather go with their strengths rather than looking for replacements.

Speaking to the media, he said, “We are not going to replace big players like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, or even Tilakratne Dilshan. They cannot be replaced as they are once in a lifetime player.”

“If we ask the current players to be like them, then you are asking too much and would be putting too much pressure on them. I think that's the biggest mistake we are making, looking for replacements and putting undue pressure on the younger players,” added the former batsman.

Despite a humiliating whitewash in both the ODI and Test series, Sri Lanka have found some positives in the likes of Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Kusal Mendis among others who have shown glimpses of brilliance. And Arnold wants the board to work on their strengths and give them time.

He said, “We have to use what we have. They are different players. You have to identify their strengths, let them blossom in their own time and allow them to develop their own styles.”

Sri Lanka have had a horrid few months of late, where they failed to beat Bangladesh at home across formats, which was followed by an elimination in the ICC Champions trophy group stage. Returning from England, the Lankans lost a home series to Zimbabwe and saw another drubbing by the Men in Blues soon after.

The frustration was bound to affect the supporters, who have shown their displeasure in an ugly way. However, the left-handed batsman has urged the cricket crazy nation to be patient with the side amidst such dire situation.

He said, “We love entertainment but a string of losses and performances have hurt the public. If we talk about players controlling the variables and handling pressure, the spectators also need to do the same. It is easy to say that they have to get behind the team but we are all humans and we like good things.”

However, despite injuries and inconsistencies playing a major factor in Sri Lanka’s downfall, Arnold thinks that the poor form of the senior players has made the transition all the more difficult. Angelo Mathews’ decision to step down from captaincy have displeased many and Arnold was one of them.

He expressed his disappointment saying, “Poor form of senior players has been a contributor as well and when injuries are put together, the transition has just not been able to move forward. If you look at this Indian series, we have had two captains in the Tests and three so far in the ODIs. We had another one in the Champions Trophy, so that's how problematic it has been."

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