Of course, over the course of the year, Silverwood predecessor Mickey Arthur has improved team fitness and playing standards, while Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga have flourished in the world’s two leading bowlers. But the results remain inconsistent as always, most of which boil down to permanent inconsistency with the bat.
Not surprisingly, this was the first area of concern Silverwood identified while diagnosing Sri Lanka’s problems.
“It’s all about scoring and that’s what we want the striking lineup to do. I’ll try to instill a little confidence in the guys so they can go out and construct their shifts and score big series, certainly in the first shifts, and give us something for bowling. It’s not rocket science. “
It’s not rocket science, but it’s certainly a problem that many other coaches over the past decade (11 to be precise) have failed to solve. But, as they say, identifying the problem is half the battle, and Silverwood has lost little time thinking about fixing for Sri Lanka’s troubles.
“I’ve spent the last few weeks just digging through the statistics, watching how we can improve. One of them is the intention to score a goal, we have to give the strikers confidence to come out and not be afraid to go out. That’s not to say we have to be reckless, what I say is that we also need to put ‘smart people in. But I want them to be positive, I want them to be brave.If we go with that attitude, Dot-ball rates will go down and strike rates will go up, which can only be a good thing.
“I encouraged the guys to be very specific when they train, think about who they will meet and practice to suit those situations. Instead of just training on a large scale, every time you go out of that net, you come out a better player than you came in. To do that, you have to consider what challenges you have in front of you, and then go experiment, find a way, strengthen your strengths and obviously work on things that may not be so strong in. “
Silverwood’s strengths, however, are in his work with fast bowlers, as he himself was one of them during his playing days. And despite having barely had two weeks to work with his players since taking over, he has already tried to leave his mark on the team pace.
“I specifically challenged Test Bowlers to be hot on their first 12 balls, because as we all know with the first 12 balls you can make a real impact on your magic as well as restore pressure on the hitters.
“It’s about instilling the discipline that we can do good things for a long time and not get bored of doing them. Guess your lines and lengths, find places in any terrain and be able to live there, and then enter skills like swinging, etc., and all of our guys are rocking it too, which is great.So it’s just about putting all those skills together and being disciplined enough to live in one area, where you can exhaust the opposition if you need to be.
“It’s going to be a gradual process, but if you sow the seed and let it grow, you’ll eventually find that people can do it.”
Silverwood’s first challenge will be a Sri Lankan tour of Bangladesh later this month, with the team set to travel on May 8th. However, the touring party will not have the luxury of visiting Chameer, Lahiru Kumara or the recently retired Surang Lakmal. This means that Sri Lanka carries with it a rather inexperienced speed bowling unit. Silverwood, however, sees the bright side.
“From my point of view, the fact that they are young means they will download information faster and maybe try new things. The response so far has been great.”
Of course, one of the challenges for me will be communication. I have to make sure that the plans I am trying to realize can be properly conveyed to the guys. Obviously Naveed has helped me a lot so far. Equally, I have to be aware that the way I see things is not the way someone else sees it, so I have to be aware of how culture works, and with that I have a good experience while working in Zimbabwe.Overall, what we have here is very exciting.
“I want the trick of Sri Lanka, I want the boys to express themselves; I don’t want them to be anyone else, I want them to be themselves and fly the Sri Lankan flag.”
Nawaz, who has also been considered for the role of head coach, will also oversee the team’s hitting. The former Sri Lankan cricketer also elaborated on his role, speaking of his desire to get to know the players better in the coming weeks and months so he can help them reach their potential.
“Two-way clarity is important to reduce any complaints that players may have. Also creating a platform to discuss players’ personal and tactical issues,” Nawaz said. “My role will be to act partly as a mentor, as a friend, and at the same time drill down on the tactical changes they need to make to improve their game.
“It’s a great opportunity to work with someone like Chris who has a lot of experience. Obviously, I applied for the position of head coach, but I still take the role of assistant coach as an opportunity. As long as we are both on the same wavelength fame is all that matters. “