Sangakkara wants an urgent review of Sri Lanka cricket

Indo Asian News Service

Adelaide, Feb 13 (IANS) Former captain and star batsman Kumar Sangakkara wants an urgent review of Sri Lankan cricket, and has said first class structure should be overhauled on the lines of Australian cricket.

On the eve of Sri Lanka's ODI against India, Sangakkara said it was high time that shortcomings in the country's cricket structure was paid attention and warned that natural talent won't take the nation far enough.

"It's very important to have great first-class structure, I think in Sri Lanka that is something to address very strongly," Sangakkara told reporters at the Adelaide Oval here Monday.

Sangakkara said Sri Lanka needs to follow Australia's way of cricket.

"That is one reason why Australia has been so good over the years, and I think that is an example that you can't dismiss. I think it's a case of where you really need to sit down and assess your first-class system and not just copy something, but take the lessons from it and adapt it to something that works really for you. In Sri Lanka we need to do that very quickly," he said.

Sri Lankan cricket has been plagued with government interference and Sangakkara was among six one-day captains in the past decade. Former captain Mahela Jayawardene is back leading the side for the current tour following the resignation of Tillakaratne Dilshan.

"The way the players think and the way the people who make decisions sometimes don't add up. But that is the way cricket has always been. Dilshan unfortunately decided to resign and then we have gone back to Mahela, which at this time is probably a very good decision," he said.

Sangakkara said Sri Lanka needs a road map for the next three years.

"We need grounding and a tighter structure as to how we're going to progress over the next three years. And once you have that set, I think it's going to be easier for anyone else like Angelo Mathews, who will probably take over," he said.

Mathews, vice-captain, nearly gave Sri Lanka a thrilling victory over Australia in Perth last Friday night with 64 from 76 balls. But Sri Lanka ultimately fell five runs short and are yet to register a win, having played two matches.

"You have got to win a minimum of four games really to have any chance of qualifying for the finals. So we had better start winning soon ... we should have been one-up by now and it's unfortunate that we aren't," he said.