As players like Chandimal, Kusal Mendis and Dhananjaya de Silva have failed to deliver on a regular basis; the Sri Lankan Cricket seems to go nowhere from this point. Since the expectations are high from such players, their recent averages in Tests; Chandimal (14 in five matches) and De Silva has 18.25 in six Tests are all but below-par.
Youngsters are very inconsistent - Muttiah
The highest-wicket-taker (800) in Tests, Muralitharan said the youngsters have failed to hit a purple patch; thus the pressure falls on the other batsmen, which results in disaster for the team.
However, he pointed out the same stuff is getting repeated for 3-4 year now, and the youngsters aren't learning at all. Muttiah further noted the players coming through the ranks are neither talented nor have capabilities to nurture their game.
Meanwhile, speaking to Cricket Next on their recent series loss to the Oz, the veteran said Sri Lanka has been playing worse than Australia; considering both are not among the best Test teams in the world at the moment.
Not only this, but he added it's hard to say the visitors could have also pushed for a draw in the series. The way things are shaping up, Sri Lankan cricket is looking down the barrel.
"The younger players like (Kusal) Mendis have a lot of talent but they are very inconsistent. It puts a lot of pressure on their batting. It has been the same story for the last 3-4 years, there is no development that has happened. The young players that are coming through don't have talent and capabilities, what can they do if they are sent into the middle of international cricket," Muralitharan told CricketNext. "Sri Lanka is playing so poorly these days but Australia are playing badly too. However, Sri Lanka is playing worse than Australia.
"It's very hard to say if they could have pushed Australia and possibly won a Test match Down Under if they had raised their level a bit. I don't see it happening."
Rangana's loss is hard to fill, reckons Murali
Since his retirement from Tests, the onus had always been on the ex-spinner, Rangana Herath. The left-arm spinner had been their side's best bowler and had produced results on a consistent basis too. Last year only, he took retirement from cricket after playing the second Test against England; which the Lankans lost as well. In his career, which spanned for nearly two decades, Herath had played 93 Tests and picked 433 wickets.
Moreover, Muttiah is of the opinion that the country was blessed to have world-class cricketers in the past 50 years; but since the level of school cricket had gone down in the past decade, there is not the same breed of players emerging through the ranks.
"Rangana's retirement is a huge loss to fill," Murali said. "It came on the back of retirement of top-class players like (Kumar) Sangakkara and (Mahela) Jayawardene. It's very tough for any country to replace players of their quality. We were lucky for last 20 years - 40-50 unbelievable players we produced through school cricket. But school cricket standard has gone down, we have to produce from first-class but that is diluted and talent is not there."
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka will now travel to South Africa for two Tests, five ODIs and three T20Is. The tour will begin on February 13th.
(Except for the headline, this story, originally published by m.dailyhunt.in has not been edited by SLM staff)