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Sri Lanka cricket team using lockdown to improve fitness

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur has said the cricket team has been ordered onto customised home training regimes during the coronavirus lockdown following frequent accusations of poor fitness.
Arthur said that his coaching staff are utilising the time off from cricket to reflect on the first three months of their tenure as well as on recalibrating the plans for future series., while they wait to see if key tournaments such as the Indian Premier League and Twenty20 World Cup will go ahead this year.
“We are using this time to reflect on the first three months of our tenure and recalibrate our individual and team plans going forward to the very important series that we have coming up later in the year,” said Arthur in an interview with local media.
“We have been very happy with the improvement and willingness from the players to buy into the structure, work ethic, levels of preparation and goals that we have set the team in all formats,” he added.
Arthur took up the coaching role with Sri Lanka in December 2019, ahead of the team’s two-Test series in Pakistan, which the hosts won 1-0. Sri Lanka lost T20I series in India, won Test series in Zimbabwe before hosting West Indies.
“This isolation period is giving us as coaching staff a time to reflect as well on the player plans, roles and goals that we have set for ourselves as a group,” Arthur said. “We are also looking at trends from around the world and analyzing all the opposition that we are going to play against over the next year. We as a group want to stay ahead of the pack and be the leaders not the followers in terms of coaching trends around the world.”
Sri Lanka were preparing for a home series against England when the current world situation took hold, forcing the series to be called off. Arthur expressed disappointment saying this was the time when his team had started to grow under him.
A Sri Lankan sports minister slammed the team’s fitness after they suffered a humiliating one-day series defeat against bottom-ranked Zimbabwe in 2017 and early exit from the Champions Trophy. Dayasiri Jayasekara said Sri Lankan players were “too fat and unfit to field five-day Test matches”.
Sri Lanka’s nationwide lockdown, which has now been extended to four weeks, started just as the national team were due to begin a two-match Test series against England at home. The virus has claimed five lives and infected at least 176 people in Sri Lanka.
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