Our fielding worst in Asia: Sri Lanka coach Jayaratne

Colombo, Sep 19 (IANS) Branding Sri Lanka’s fielding standards as the worst in Asia, interim coach Jerome Jayaratne said on Saturday that poor fitness levels is the chief reason for the team’s problems.

“We are now the worst fielding side in Asia, we were never behind Pakistan but now we have gone behind them. India proved that they were better than us and even Bangladesh are fielding better than us,” Jayaratne, who took charge of the Lankan team earlier this month, was quoted as saying by the Nation on Saturday.

The 49-year-old admitted that the Sri Lankan team is doing poorly in batting and bowling as well, pointing out that below par fitness standards hamper his players’ performance.

“Other than the bowling which is holding the team together, the batting, fielding and fitness has let us down. It’s a lot to do with the fitness levels. The way our guys are fielding they are carrying excess weight and we are in shambles,” Jayaratne said.

The coach however, expressed confidence in newly-appointed trainer Michael Main, asserting that the Englishman will be able to get the players into shape.

According to Jayaratne, Main has set specific targets for individual players and those who are unable to improve their fitness may find themselves out of the team.

“Michael gave us a mind blowing presentation and showed where we are and where we need to get to. What he tried to do in the first three months is he didn’t try to turn things around but observed everything,” he said.

“Now he has decided how he is going to take this forward and at the presentation he was given a full green light to go ahead in whatever he wants to do.

“I have a very strong belief if we give Michael about four to six months he can turn things around. He has got the players to sign documents like signing a contract that they need to reach desired targets in particular time duration otherwise they are going to be in trouble,” Jayaratne added.

“He has assessed them and given them time targets, some they cannot do before the West Indies series but definitely you can see the boys are working towards that. Everybody’s got individual programs and targets and they have taken it seriously.”

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