Now Vaas questions First Class structure


Former SL fast bowler Chaminds Vaas.

Rex Clementine reporting from Pallekele

Sri Lanka’s Fast Bowling Coach Chaminda Vaas was the latest to hit out at country’s First Class cricket when he questioned its standards after first day’s play of the third Test against India at Pallekele.

Sri Lankan cricket has hit new lows this year and First Class cricket has been blamed for the woes. Earlier, opener Dimuth Karunaratne had hit out at the standard of First Class cricket during the second Test in Colombo. Prior to that, former captains Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene also had criticised the standard of First Class cricket.

"We can’t be satisfied with the way First Class cricket (is played). We talk a lot about what ails First Class cricket, but no matter how much we talk, the issue hasn’t moved forward," Vaas told journalists.

"If we want to develop our cricket and increase the number of fast bowlers we have –if we want to do justice to our cricket— we need to make pitches that are suited to fast bowlers. If we do that I trust that our bowlers would be better off than they are now," Vaas added.

Sri Lanka has the highest number of First Class teams in the world with 24 teams competing in the domestic First Class competition. A year ago, the First Class structure only had 14 teams, but the current SLC administration increased the number of teams by ten more in order to satisfy the clubs that had voted them into office.

Sri Lanka’s cricketers often find the gap between First Class cricket and international cricket too big and struggle to compete. This year Sri Lanka were whitewashed 3-0 in Tests and 5-0 in ODIs by South Africa before losing a first-ever Test match against Bangladesh. They were knocked out of the first round of Champions Trophy and then were beaten by Zimbabwe in an ODI series for the first time in the history.

India are leading the current three-match Test series 2-0, and are eyeing a series whitewash here at Pallekele.

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