New ODI skipper Upul Tharanga's request to Sri Lankan fans to be patient seems to have fallen on deaf ears. The home fans expressed their displeasure after yet another rout by Team India in the first of the five-match ODI series. A section of fans made their disappointment known after they were trounced by nine wickets by holding up the team bus at the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium on Sunday night.
Reportedly, a group of nearly 50 fans stood in the vicinity of the Lankan team bus shouting slogans. Police had to intervene and clear the parking lot. This incident delayed the host team's departure from the venue by half an hour.
This was certainly coming, especially after Lanka's abysmal performances in the recent years. Besides their sloppy play on field, the 1996 World Cup winners have struggled to fill in the void left since the departure of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene.
The recent results too haven't been exactly flattering for Sri Lanka. They crashed out of the ICC Champions Trophy in group stages following a poor show on the field, lost the ODI series to 11th ranked Zimbabwe and then narrowly edged past the minnows in a one-off Test match.
In the on-going series against India, they suffered a whitewash in the three-Test series and to add to their woes fumbled a good start in the first one-dayer that witnessed a very good turnout.
In the wake of these bad results, the legendary Sangakkara has requested supporters to back the team during this tough phase, “When we won, you celebrated with us, and when we lost, you grieved alongside us,” he said. “When the team was struggling – when we were most in need – your love and support was our strength. Now, what our cricketers need is that same, love, support, patience and effort. Let's hope for the team’s victory, and support them as one."
For the sake of Sri Lankan cricket we too hope the turnaround happens sooner than later.