ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka has turned to Spain's Barcelona Football Club for a much needed kick to revive the island's cricket team and prepare them for next year's World Cup, cricket chief Thilanga Sumathipala said on Monday.
The President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) granted a preview of their "Brain Centre" and its state-of-the-art player management software adapted from Barcelona’s football team to journalists.
Sumathipala said the hi-tech Wimu Pro used by the Spanish side had been tweaked and launched after a year of preparation to groom the national squad along with an in-house developed play review system to analyse play.
The modified Wimu Pro is coupled with match analysis systems and Sri Lanka is currently in possession of the world's most advanced player management system in cricket, he added.
SLC Chief Executive Ashley de Silva said they invested heavily on technology to develop the game as well as win next year's World Cup.
"We are investing a lot of time, effort and money to develop the game. Obviously we are looking at the next World Cup," de Silva said.
The adapted football software costs SLC some $75,000 dollars as a one-time payment along with a $20,000 annual subscription for upgrades and maintenance to accommodate 40 players at any given time.
Former Kent coach Simon Willis, who was appointed Sri Lanka's high performance manager in May 2016, said SLC was now equipped with the most advanced technology that is currently with any international side.
Sri Lankan management can now monitor players while on field and take decisions based on real time data.
Willis said the Sri Lanka team management had earlier made subjective decisions about players and their fitness levels, but the new system allowed for better informed choices.
"This system will allow evidence-based decisions to be made," Willis said.
He said a team of experts tweaked the key performance indicators needed for cricket to meet the needs of the national team after studying data from a recent tournament in Bangladesh.
"We had to create what is relevant to cricket. It’s not cheap, but it is a good investment because it gives us instant information," Willis said.
He said players will wear a satellite-based GPS (global positioning system) device while at practice as well as during tournaments and the team management will be able to monitor them in real time.
Players began wearing the GPS device from the tri-nation Twenty20 tournament currently underway in Colombo. India and Bangladesh are the other two teams in the tournament to mark Sri Lanka's 70th anniversary of independence.
Sri Lanka won the 1996 World Cup and since then reached the finals twice with no success. Sri Lanka became the World T20 champions in 2014, but since then they have been going down in the rankings.
Sri Lanka's cricket team has been plagued by injuries in recent years. The country's limited overs captain Angelo Mathews is staying away from the current tri-nation because of injuries. (COLOMBO, March 12, 2018)