Graeme Labrooy backs Kusal Mendis to comeback strongly

Graeme Labrooy backs Kusal Mendis to comeback strongly

Kusal Mendis and Kaushal Silva have been dropped for the tour of India.

Graeme Labrooy
Graeme Labrooy. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The chief selector of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Graeme Labrooy has defended the decision of the committee to drop Kusal Mendis for India tour. The dropping of one of the best batsmen in the country has not gone down too well with the fans and have lashed out at the selectors. Sri Lanka is scheduled to tour India for a return series of three-match Test series to go with as many ODIs and T20Is. However, Labrooy feels Mendis is a confidence player and has backed him to come back strongly.

Mendis is going through a lean period and hasn’t gone past 50 in his last 13 innings across formats after scoring a fighting century against India in August. He also had a poor series in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan and was eventually dropped from the team in the middle of the ODI series. When he went through a similar period last time around, the then head coach Graham Ford had backed the youngster and never dropped him from the team.

He needs to regain his confidence

Graeme Labrooy cleared that the team management doesn’t want Kusal Mendis to take India and keep him on the bench. “We didn’t want to throw him to the deep end or to take him to India and leave him on the bench. Instead, what we tried to do was to let him play some domestic cricket, work on his game and regain his confidence,” he told Cricbuzz on Monday. He also added that once he regains his confidence by playing in the domestic circuit, he will be back in the team.

“He is a confidence player. For him confidence is everything. He has got everything in his armoury. We don’t want a situation where he plays two more innings, gets two low scores and then drop him and destroy his confidence further. He has got age on his side and we want him to go onto become one of the greatest of the game. We want him to play for another ten years,” he added. The axing of the opener Kaushal Silva was also surprising as the coach Nic Pothas had praised him for work ethics recently.

“We share the same sentiments with Nic. But, at the end of the day, you need to put runs on the board. Character, attitude, team spirit all these things are there but we expect more from him with the bat,” Labrooy explained. Sadeera is a player for the future. This is the correct time that we should bring him in. Now is the time for him to bite the bullet and take up that challenge against world’s number one ranked team. He will put pressure back on the bowlers by putting the loose balls away. (We are) very impressed with his game,” he spoke of the young Sadeera Samarawickrama.

Labrooy also opined that Asela Gunaratne was short of match fitness and they didn’t want to take chances while playing against the best team in the world. “Asela is fit and has been medically cleared. But then he has not played any cricket for three and half months. When you are playing the best team in the world, you need your players at their peak. If everything goes well, he will be back for the ODIs,” he concluded.