Mendis to be given a break

Sri Lanka are pondering a break for top-order batsman Kusal Mendis, who has struggled in the ongoing series against India. Apart from making a century in the second Test at SSC, Mendis has not posted a half-century in the current series in nine innings.

The 22-year-old, one of the brightest prospects to emerge two years ago, is one player who has remained injury free in the last two years and has played all formats of the game.

“We had a chat after the last game and we feel that he is mentally drained. Nothing to do with any technical things. It’s better to give him a break before the next tour rather than keep playing him throughout,” Sri Lanka’s Batting Coach Avishka Gunawardene told journalists yesterday.

Gunawardene also recommended not to consider Mendis for the shortest format of the game as he is still finding his feat in the international arena. “Personally, someone who is young like that should be playing longer version of the game and ODI cricket. I would rather keep him out of T-20 cricket. He is still a player who is developing. Obviously we are looking at the next so many years from him. Better keep him for the longer format, it’s my personal opinion,” Gunawardene further said.

Sri Lanka’s batting has failed to click as the team has not managed to post 250 runs even once in four games.

“We don’t want to mess around with the technical side while the series is on. It’s more mental preparations that we need to work on. We are looking at more tactical than technical. That is what we are lacking. All four ODIs, out of the top six guys, almost everyone has got a start. However, they couldn’t go on to get a big one,” Gunawardene noted.

Sri Lanka are under immense pressure after failing to earn direct qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019. Sri Lanka will avoid playing a Qualifying Round to qualify for the World Cup only if West Indies lose more than one game in their bilateral series against England.

“Look here, it has gone beyond our control now. We have to make sure that we try and win the game tomorrow. That is the only way we can turn things around. If I say that mood is really good I will be lying. To be brutally honest, confidence level is really down. Naturally so when you are 4-0 down. But I must say that the guys are trying hard. Their enthusiasm is still pretty high. We have been trying to give them certain targets and hopefully we can achieve those targets,” Gunawardene said.

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