Colombo, June 22 – Sri Lankan cricket has hit new lows following an update of the ICC Rankings for ODI cricket as the national cricket team slipped to number eight in the official rankings. Prior to the ICC Champions Trophy, Sri Lanka were placed seventh and Pakistan were eighth, but an impressive show during the competition has helped Pakistan to secure the sixth spot while Sri Lanka have slid down to eighth. Bangladesh are number seven.
With this new low, Sri Lanka are on the boarder line of the relegation zone without gaining automatic qualification to the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019, the Island reported.
Only the top seven teams in ICC Rankings and host England gain automatic qualification for the World Cup. Those teams that do not gain automatic qualification will have to play a qualifying round also involving Associate nations to earn the remaining two spots of the World Cup.
The ICC has reduced the number of teams taking part in World Cup from 14 to ten.
What has stood in favour of Sri Lanka is that the difference between them and ninth placed West Indies is 16 points.
That means that West Indies have to beat India 5-0 in the bilateral series taking place next week and expect Sri Lanka to lose to Zimbabwe to overtake the Sri Lankans, a very unlikely scenario.
Meanwhile, if Sri Lanka beat Zimbabwe 5-0, they will move to number seven and Bangladesh will slip down to number eight. That’s one reason for the Sri Lankans to not to take the foot off the gas from the Zimbabwe series.
With the retirement of big three – Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillekeratne Dilshan, the Sri Lankan team was expected to go through some hard times, but the problem is Sri Lanka Cricket has neither groomed a team for the future nor managed to get the desired results.
On several instances, SLC has gone back to tried and tested players with little results.
Former England captain Michael Atherton made a startling revelation during the Champions Trophy that Sri Lanka has used as many as 44 players in ODI cricket in the last two years.
The current SLC administration and the members of the national selection committee have often been accused of nepotism and favouritsm towards mediocre players over deserving ones.
(Pic courtesy papare.com)