Sri Lanka

Anyone who might not feel emotional for Sri Lanka in celebrating their Asia Cup title probably lacks emotions. For a nation of 2 Crore, moments of joy have been far too few when compared to the hardships they have faced over the years. Caught At Point analyses what it means for them as a country and as a nation!

Sri Lanka has seen a turbulent time in last 3 years and has witnessed a national crisis in recent times. The ques for fuel, daily essential commodities seem never-ending as the country struggle to cope with the deep financial crisis it has plunged into.  The daily life of Sri Lankan people is full of struggle to meet the necessities of life. In such a moment of despair Cricket has been a valuable source of joy where the countrymen try to find solace. Asia Cup victory had given them rare moment of happiness and joy, a victory which might provide the country much needed confidence to fight against the prevailing crisis.

In Cricket also they moments of joy have been very few, the team’s transition which started in 2015, seemed never ending. In recent years Sri Lankan cricket stumbled from one ignominy to another. Some of the losses were not only heartbreaking but so humiliating that people’s confidence in team was shaken.  The team was performing poorly in all the formats.  They lost series to India, Pakistan, England and in limited over cricket started losing to Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

While the Test team started to perform better as Dimuth Karunaratne took over the reign. The limited over side has been performing below average. Every team, every fresh beginning needs a turn around and probably Sri Lanka got it in the Third T20 International against Australia.  After losing the first two T20I, they were down and out in the third one as well when Captain Dasun Shanaka played one of the most critical innings of his career. Sri Lanka needed 59 runs of 19 balls when Shanaka went berserk ensuring Sri Lanka stuns Australia making 59 runs in just 18 balls. While it was just a consolation win but it seemed a confidence booster turn around for the team. They won the ODI series and then went on to give tough fight to both Australia and Pakistan in Test series, leveling it 1-1 in both hard-fought series.

However, nothing could match the win of the Asia Cup. It is Sri Lanka’s first major title in the era post, its great players retired (2015-2022). The team might have won few bilateral series but this would rank their biggest win in limited over cricket.

The win is not a surety that they will become world beaters once again but the win gives the team a hope that they might return to the glory days when they were a consistent force in International Cricket.  With most of the players belonging to the young group, the biggest positive is that these players can be around for 5-6 years. The big test will be in the next 15 months when the team will participate in Two World Cups.

Chris Silverwood who looks to be seamlessly adapted into the coaching role of Sri Lankan cricket team is well versed with the history of Sri Lankan Cricket Board who have long list of terminating contracts midways in case of non-performance. After T20 World Cup in Australia, he would be eyeing on ensuring that Sri Lanka performs well in the 50 over format as well. It is a format where Sri Lanka excelled once and was a force to recon but in recent years they have been shadow of that force. Since April 2015, they have won just 42 matches and lost 74 of them (Played 123 Matches).

Will Sri Lankan Cricket will return to be a consistent force is to be seen but what this Asia Cup win have done is to ensure that they can believe that they can do it and as John Burroughs, the American naturalist once said “If you think you can do it, you can”, Sri Lanka have millions of reasons to smile.


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