The Sri Lankan government on Wednesday send an alarming signal to the national cricket team laying strong emphasis on players fitness. The government has clearly stated that the players need to get to desired fitness levels within three months, else they shall be left out of the national squad.
The warning came after the squad was found to be unfit for the upcoming five One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against Zimbabwe which commences on Friday. Sri Lanka Sports Minister Dayasiri Jayasekera, commenting on the issue, said that the level of fitness in the players was not satisfactory. Players are selected by an independent panel for the national team but the final approval comes from the Sports Minister.
After the squad was chosen, Jayasekera said no member of the 13-man squad met the required international fitness standards and noted that the high level of injuries was due to poor endurance.
"No one has a satisfactory level of fitness, but I have made an exception this time," Jayasekera said. Only two players, Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Madushanka scored high marks in the 'yo-yo' endurance test which is mainly running against the clock, a source familiar with the process told AFP. Three other fitness tests were also carried out.
Controversial fast bowler Lasith Malinga, who weighs 80 kilos, failed one test, the source said, and barely scraped through the rest. He is officially under observation."Malinga has suffered recurring injuries partly because of the poor fitness," the source said on condition of anonymity.