New coach Chris Silverwood wants to see Sri Lankan flair

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s newly-appointed coach Chris Silverwood wants his batters to score more freely and his fast bowlers to breathe fire early in their spells as he seeks to add a touch of flair to their performance. The former England head coach took charge of Sri Lanka last month, with the team ranked a lowly seventh in tests and eighth in one-dayers.

In his first news conference since taking over, Silverwood identified Sri Lanka’s inconsistent batting as their main worry. “It’s all about scoring runs and that’s what we want the batting line-up to do,” the 47-year-old told reporters on Thursday. “I’ll try and instil some confidence into the boys so they can go out there and construct their innings and score big runs, certainly in the first innings, and give us something to bowl at.

“It’s not rocket science.” Silverwood, who begins his tenure with a two-test series in Bangladesh later this month, said his batters needed to be brave. “That’s not to say we have to be reckless, what I’m saying is we have to bring smarts into that as well. But I do want them to be positive, I want them to be brave,” he added.

“If we go with that attitude, the dot-ball rates will come down and the strike-rates will go up, which can only be a good thing.” As for his fast bowlers, Silverwood wanted them to operate with sustained hostility and stressed the importance of bringing the heat early on to put batsmen under pressure.

“I’ve specifically challenged the test bowlers to be hot on their first 12 balls, because as we all know the first 12 balls you can make a real impact on your spell as well as put pressure back on the batters,” he said. “I want the Sri Lankan flair, I want the boys to express themselves.