Sri Lanka press demands 'fresh blood' after World T20 exit
Sri Lanka's press on Sunday called for 'fresh blood' in the national cricket side after the reigning champions crashed out of the World Twenty20 at the group stages.
Sri Lanka suffered a narrow 10-run defeat to England on Saturday, with the 2014 trophy winners being bundled out of the tournament after a disastrous showing at the recent Asia Cup.
The local Sunday Times blamed a selection crisis on the eve of the tournament for Sri Lanka's poor performance, which also saw them badly beaten by the West Indies and scrape home against minnows Afghanistan.
Sri Lanka's national selectors were sacked and the new panel, headed by former skipper Aravinda de Silva, stood down injured captain Lasith Malinga shortly before they left for India.
"Where on earth would you find the selected squad changed just hours before its departure to an all important tournament?" the paper quoted an unnamed former player as saying. "This I believe had a huge impact on our performance."
The paper warned Sri Lanka could not make an impact at international level with the current team, which have been unable to fill the void left by retiring greats Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
"Turning the tide with the current crop of players seems almost impossible," it said, adding that selectors should "replace the misfiring cricketers with new blood to inject life back into the game."
The state-run Sunday Observer praised skipper Angelo Mathews' unbeaten 73-run innings, but said the team were unable to execute whatever plans they had cobbled together.
"The difference between the two sides was that England played sensibly whereas Sri Lanka failed to execute whatever plans they came up with for the contest," it said.
Mathews pleaded for patience from fans and administrators after his side's defeat, while Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena said: "We'll come back stronger next time".
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