Upul Tharanga, speaking to the press prior to the 1st ODI at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Sunday, said that the team had discussed their problem with slow over-rates at length and were confident that they would be able to finish their allotted overs on time during the games against India.
Tharanga was banned for two games during the ICC Champions Trophy back in June after he received 2 suspension points for a ‘serious’ over-rate offence. The left-handed batsman was the stand-in skipper for Sri Lanka’s opening game of the championship against South Africa, after regular Skipper Angelo Mathews was sidelined on the eve of the match, due to injury.
On that occasion, Sri Lanka took more than four hours to bowl 50 overs, and match referee David Boon ruled that, despite making time allowances, they were short of the target by four overs.
“We discussed that (the over-rate) at length. Even Angelo had similar problems and he had been warned. I think it’s up to our fielders and especially bowlers. We cannot slow down. In our meetings we discussed how to get things done on time. It’s important to finish off on time and avoid getting banned.” Tharanga said.
Article 2.5.2 of the ICC Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel states that players were to be fined 10 per cent of their match fees for the first two overs and 20 per cent of their match fees for the additional overs their side failed to bowl in the allotted time, with the captain also receiving two suspension points. Since two suspension points equate to a ban from one Test or two ODIs or two T20Is, whatever comes first for the player, Tharanga was suspended from his side’s games against India and Pakistan, while each of Sri Lanka’s players who played in the match were fined 60 per cent of their match fee.
With a plethora of spinners at their disposal in the past, Sri Lanka rarely ever had trouble with completing their overs on time, however, since of late, this has been a real issue for the hosts.
With Angelo Mathews having stepped down from captaincy after Sri Lanka’s historic series loss to Zimbabwe last month, this will be Tharanga’s 1st official series in charge of the national team.