This wind of change has started to blow in Sri Lankan cricket fraternity. In such a short period of time, Chandika Hathurusingha has delivered the goods for Islanders. It is expected, gradually, Sri Lanka would transform into a champion side by the magic of Chandika…..

In the second ball of sixth over, Tamim Iqbal hammered one from Chameera by charging down the wicket but it went straight at the hands of Chameera who failed to grab it. It was a tough one to grab and in such cases a pacer get’s milliseconds to react. Chameera did not lose heart and came back with a well-directed short-pitch delivery and Tamim executed a mistimed hook shot only to be holed out to midwicket. Six or seven months back, Chameera would have lost his confidence after dropping the catch, but today, he showed the character to forget and fight back.

There is a change in this Sri Lankan unit.

In the fourth ball of eight over, Mohammad Mithun’s forward defensive shot was pushed to cover but a sloppy fielding allowed a single. That sloppiness on the field did not become contagious but in turn, it injected more determination among the Lankan fielders to give their hundred percent. In the first ball of next over, Thisara Perera scripted a direct hit from mid-off and Mithun had to walk for the pavilion.

It’s a different Sri Lankan unit.  

Mushfiqur Rahim and Mahmudullah Riyad stitched an inspiring partnership to bring Bangladesh back into the match. The Lankan skipper, Dinesh Chandimal was trying hard to break this partnership. During the drinks break, he was seen inspiring his men – a scenario which was not evident last year.

Just after the drinks break, Sri Lanka broke the partnership and bagged the scalp of Mushfiq. Chandimal witnessed how Mushfiq was attempting the sweep against Akila Dananjaya. He engaged a leg slip and advised Akila to target the middle and leg stump line only lure Mushfiq to sweep. Mushfiq fell into the trap and holed out to leg slip fielder. A soft dismissal, but it was well orchestrated by the Chandimal, who was always written off as a skipper as he lacked leadership qualities.

Gradually, Sri Lankan cricket is changing.

Shehan Madushanka has been termed as a young talent with a very good future. He was expected to feature in the Tri-series during the round-robin matches, but all of a sudden, he was included in the team for the finals by excluding Sandakan. It was a big gamble and a ploy to surprise the opposition and it actually worked. The young man ended up with a hat-trick on his debut.

Not only the seasoned customers, but the young guns on the bench also plays with a lot of aggressive and positive intent.

They play to win matches and they are showing the intention of playing a fearless brand of cricket.

The wind of change has started to blow in Sri Lankan cricket.

Even a week ago, Sri Lankan were a side who were cutting a sorry figure against Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. They started off this Tri-series with a narrow-defeat against Zimbabwe and followed it up with a disgraceful defeat against Bangladesh. The optimistic fans of Sri Lankan cricket gave up their hopes about this team and kept on saying, not even a high profile coach like Chandika Hathurusingha can change this Sri Lankan side.

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But Chandika does not even bother such defeats as he knows very well, Sri Lanka’s chance is not even over and he has the brain to turn things around. He kept on working with his fellow cricketers. He lost Angelo Mathews and Kusal Perera due to injuries, but he remained calm and composed under pressure – maintained the team spirit within the team and only advised them to give their best and play a fearless brand of cricket, an advise which once transformed Bangladesh into a team to watch.

Chandika’s man management, team combination and advises worked like a magic. It cast a spell over the team which started to regain its lost rhythm and bounced back from rock bottom to storm into the finals by nailing all the equations before the all-important match against the hosts.

“Actually, it was a hard time for the team and the Sri Lankan fans over the past two years, especially in the one-day format. But now, with the new coach, we’ve got some new strategies. We’ve got a lot of faith in him, and we’ve got some confidence. We’re not thinking about the result. We are always thinking about how to play good cricket when we’re in the middle. That’s the main change we have in the team”.

Dinesh Chandimal said such before the start of the finals.

A happy Sri Lankan unit poses with the trophy. Image Courtesy: Hindustan Times

From his statement, one can only get an idea about how influential Chandika had been on Sri Lanka in such a short period of time. Chandika has delivered the best and I am not all surprised with this. No sooner had he been appointed as the coach of Sri Lanka, I could realise, the heydays of Sri Lanka are around the corner and after the end of final, I could only say to myself, the magic of Chandika has started to work for Islanders. At the same time, I could only regret thinking, how could some of the sports journalists and fans in Bangladesh insult such a terrific coach? How could Bangladesh let such a champion coach go?

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