Former England star Owais Shah to coach Dambulla in LPL-by Chandrika Fernando

Owais Shah

Owais Shah

Former England batsman, Owais Shah has been appointed as the new Head Coach of the Dambulla Vikings Team for the inaugural Lanka Premier League Twnety20 Cricket Tournament, which begins later this month.

The 42-year-old middle order batsman will take over the duties of the team while replacing another former Englishman and fast bowler Jon Lewis, the franchise owners announced yesterday.

The Dambulla Vikings Team, under the guidance of Shah will come out for the first time when they take on the Kandy Tuskers Team on November 28, in a day game at the Mahinda Rajapaksa Stadium in Hambantota.

Shah will have the opportunity of coaching a star-studded line-up, which includes top foreign players in the calibre of Carlos Brathwaite (West Indies), Samit Patel (England), and Paul Stirling (Ireland).

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Lankans slip sliding from World Cup heroes to near zero



Sri Lanka’s triumphant Test match euphoria has quickly dissipated into the previously familiar role of eating humble pie as the South Africans exacted revenge for their embarrassment in the Tests by grinding their opponents into the dust leading 3-0 in the one-dayers in a relentless display of ferocity.

Already, the series has moved into a dead rubber situation with two games remaining as the struggling Sri Lanka lineup find that their horses for courses squad does not match up to the heroes that dethroned the hosts in the two Test series a few weeks prior.

One- day skipper Lasith Malinga’s desperate move to publicly scorn his squad for their lack of respect at being given national selection and reminding them of the pride associated with donning the Sri Lanka cap appears to have added more fuel to the fire rather than douse it judging by the reaction in the third game. Factions within appear to suggest that a change at the head may yet bring out the best from this talented but currently dysfunctional team.

Port Elizabeth and Cape Town beckons in the next two encounters which will be of academic interest before the Lankans figure in three T20’s before departing the Southern Hemisphere with little comfort but plenty to dwell on for their efforts.

What has been clear in the whitewash is that the current squad lack the temperament and depth in their batting as they clearly squandered a chance of winning games they could have after the bowlers did a great job in containing the strong South African batting line- up.

Niroshan Dickwella has failed as an opener and should move down the order for better impact and experienced Upul Tharanga should be made to prove his worth in the squad by filling that role or consider his career over.

The Sri Lankan fielding which was exceptional in the Tests, was appalling to a point where fielding coach Steve Rixon was visibly wincing as if in pain at the morass of mistakes.

Everything fell apart in the rain hampered third match where they let the South Africans get away to a huge total thanks to sloppy fielding and erratic bowling mainly by proven specialists like Thisara Perera whose form or motives need questioning.

With the World Cup fast looming on the horizon Sri Lanka desperately need some wise heads and proper direction in a hurry if they are to avoid humiliation after their proud record in previous editions which included that historic victory in Lahore in 1996. They are winless in six encounters in 2019.

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South Africa bounce back in the first one-dayer as the Lankans discover the good, the bad and the ugly – BY TREVINE RODRIGO IN MELBOURNE.


south africa


Sri Lanka can celebrate the good, the bad and the ugly since their fantastic Test series win over South Africa after a dismal batting performance gave the home team a morale boosting effortless win in the first one-dayer in Johannesburg.

That Test success appears to be quickly fading into a distant memory unless the plucky Lankans can discover a winning combination to be competitive in the four games ahead.

The good was the discovery of a brilliant new talent in debutant Oshada Fernando who followed his Test series heroics with a masterly 49 before being unfortunately run out. His stroke play and cool , calm confidence overshadowed many of the more experienced campaigners in the squad as he deftly handled the South African attack smacking them to all parts in his entertaining knock. He is certainly a player to watch over the years.

The bad was the batting which recovered from the quick exits of Niroshan Dickwella and Upul Tharanga to irrational shot selection and then going on to 195 for 5 in 36.2 overs before they folded to a measly 231 in 47 overs which was almost unforgivable. Only three batsmen, Oshada Fernando (49), Kusal Mendis (60), and Dhananjaya de Silva (39), made score worth a mention as the others looked lost at sea on a track that seemed to have no terrors.

A score of 231 always suggested that the game would not go the distance as South African Skipper Faf du Plessis 112 off 114 balls and Quentin De Kok 81 off 72 balls raced to the target with more than 11 overs remaining

The ugly was the evidence of the spat between skipper Lasith Malinga and experienced Thisara Perera appeared not over and done with. Perera who is capable of turning a game on its head with his incredible talent appeared listless while batting with Malinga and the shot he offered to get out looked like fielding practice to David Miller at short cover. This, when the team urgently needed an injection of runs to lift them from a domino effect as wickets fell around him in quick succession.

The fact that they did not bat out their allotted overs is a disturbing statistic which needs to be addressed by the coaching staff. It appears to suggest that there is a lack of genuine all-rounders in the squad or the selection process needs some tampering.

As they move to Centurion for game two it is hoped that they will show the qualities Dimuth Karunaratne’s men displayed and take the series to a competitive level. They certainly don’t lack the talent to beat anyone if they are in the right mindset.

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