Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur said international teams could learn from India on developing younger players and identifying them for roles at crucial stages of the game.
India had overpowered Sri Lanka comprehensively in the second T20I at Indore. The first game in Guwahati was washed out following damp patches on the surface. Attempts were made to dry out the surface with hair-dryers and steam iron but the efforts went in vain.
India have been a powerhouse in Tests and ODIs and Arthur feels the introduction of younger players in the circuit has helped their cause.
"It has been interesting watching them introduce young players and giving them responsibility at critical times, that has been so good,” he said as quoted by Press Trust of India (PTI).
“And seeing those young players respond has been amazing. I think India in cricket is in really, really good shape at the moment.”
Arthur was impressed by the strokeplay of KL Rahul, who recently scored a rapid 32-ball 45 against Sri Lanka in the Indore T20I.
"You look at someone like KL Rahul – he hit some shots that were absolutely amazing. India along with probably Australia now – I think Australia have found their mojo again – are certainly the flagbearers in world cricket.
India, who are ranked No 1 in Tests and second-ranked side in ODIs, haven’t been as threatening in the shortest format, but the former Pakistan coach believes there haven’t been any chinks in their armoury. "They are a great cricket team and there are no apparent weaknesses,” he added.
Arthur, who had to face some difficult questions in his post-match presser, said Sri Lankan players and support staff had some serious work to do in terms of planning and inducting match awareness. This was Sri Lanka’s fourth successive defeat in T20Is following their 3-0 series loss against Australia.
"For us as coaching staff and players we have got some serious work to do in terms of game-plan, match awareness and playing the big moments,” he said as quoted by Cricinfo.
Sri Lanka were also found wanting when they needed to rotate the strike in terms of playing the situations. They lacked at nurdling the bowlers around, consuming up to 50 dots in their 20 overs, which led to the batters playing rash shots and getting out.
“I think we had 49 dot balls tonight, which is too many, as the best teams in the world [would] have 25 dot balls. That is something we need to keep working on."
However, he remained optimistic about Sri Lanka’s core group which decimated the No 1 ranked T20I side Pakistan on their home turf. The biggest challenge for him will be to help Sri Lanka qualify for the T20 World Cup in Australia this year.
"The exciting thing for me though is that there is a very young core group of players and they are very skilled," Arthur said. "But we need to coach game-plans, match awareness; we need to coach how they can construct innings and that for me is the biggest challenge as a coach.
Arthur’s recent three-year stint with Pakistan helped them rise to No 1 in T20I rankings and the reason behind that, according to him, was picking right players for the right roles.
“It is kind of like what I stared with in South Africa; it was exactly the same when I was in Pakistan. Pakistan was a team that was ranked No. 9 in T20 cricket and we got Pakistan to win 11 series in a row--we did not play India--and got ourselves to No. 1 in the world.
“There were good values because we used the sum of our parts. There were guys who could hit [the ball]out of the park but we learned how to play to our strengths. And that is kind of what I see with Sri Lanka.”