Eager to embark on his first Test series next month, Sri Lanka’s coach Trevor Bayliss has said it will be strange being on the opposite side of the fence while taking on Australia, his home country.
“Everyone’s excited about Australia. For me, it will be strange having been involved with them for so long,” Bayliss told the Sydney Morning Herald. “But that’s just the nature of the game these days, and I can’t wait to be involved in my first Test match in this position.”
Bayliss, 44, a former New South Wales batsman who went on to coach them, was appointed as Sri Lanka’s national coach for a two-year term beginning in August. His first one-day series ended in Sri Lanka going down 3-2 to England.
Over the past few weeks, there has been debate in Sri Lanka’s political circle to overturn the selectors’ decision to drop Marvan Atapattu from the touring squad. But Bayliss hoped it won’t have a major impact on their campaign in Australia. “We have a captain in Mahela [Jayawardene] who I would put right up there with the Waughs and Mark Taylor as far as leaders go. The influence he has on his players is as great as anyone I’ve seen in the game. He has the complete respect of the players, and I’ve found him to be a quality bloke.
“At the moment, I’m just learning about the system here. Over time, I will let the board know if I have any ideas about how to improve things.”
Bayliss was optimistic about Sri Lanka’s chances against Australia, despite them having a poor record there - losing six of the eight Tests. He was also confident that Muttiah Muralitharan would be fit for the two-Test series, starting on November 8. “He’s obviously crucial to us, and we’re just trying to make sure he’s 100%.”
Murali was ruled out of the one-dayers against England due to a bicep injury but is expected to make the tour to Australia, where he has a chance of breaking Shane Warne’s record as the leading wicket-taker in Tests.
“Between him, Mahela and some of the veteran players, they have a very good idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the Australian players. I might be able to give a little bit more insight in terms of some of the guys I’ve coached, but for the most part, I think they’re in a really good position as it is.”
Bayliss also said it had been difficult adapting to life in Sri Lanka. “The traffic, the smog, the food - it’s all very new to me. I still can’t shake the feeling at dinner time, ‘Is this the meal that’ll do me in?’. As any of my old team-mates will tell you, I love a good steak and potatoes, but now it’s getting used to the hot curries.
“I have a new-found respect for the blokes over here, with the facilities they have to work with. Australians really don’t know how good they’ve got it. But our [Sri Lankan] guys get on the job with no complaints and, as we’ve all seen over the years, have done a tremendous job despite the massive challenges they face.”
Meanwhile, Jayawardene denied he had told the chairman of selectors Ashantha de Mel that Atapattu had not supported him once he was made captain. “I didn’t make such comments. What I said was what I have been telling ever since I took over as captain,” Jayawardene said. “I have been telling that if we are getting a player back, the selectors need to tell him why he was dropped earlier. I definitely said so, but I never said that he [Atapattu] didn’t support me.
“I told the selectors that we should speak to him and see how he feels because he is a damn good player.”
Source:Cricket NewsMore on:Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka in Australia 2007, Trevor Bayliss
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2007 and is filed under General, Cricket.
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