Asia Cup 2023

Asia Cup 2022: Sri Lanka coach Chris Silverwood’s cryptic tactic baffles experts and fans

Chris Silverwood was seen passing coded messages to Dasun Shanaka.
Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka (Image source: Twitter)

The do-or-die match between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka was an action-packed affair in the Asia Cup 2022. It had everything that the fans had hoped for, nail-biting moments, brain-dead decisions, under-pressure mistakes and everything that makes a T20I game exciting.

After a lot of topsy-turvy moments, the game ended in Sri Lanka’s bag as they won by two wickets. Fans, however, were left confused in the first innings as Chris Silverwood, the Sri Lanka head coach, sent coded messages to the Sri Lanka captain and players in the first innings. The messages that were written on two clipboards read, “2D” and “D5”.

Here is the coded message

The commentators suggested that the codes could be tactical messages meant for the Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka. Interestingly, this is not the first time Silverwood has used this quirky method to send information to the bowling team. When he was England’s coach, he used similar tactics against South Africa in 2020.

Michael Vaughan, English cricketer turned commentator, criticised Silverwood for using coded messages for communication. England’s then captain, Eoin Morgan, however, defended Silverwood’s tactic at that time, saying that it was within the spirit of the game.

“100 per cent, (it’s) within the spirit of the game. There’s nothing untoward about it. It’s about maximizing the information that we’re taking in, and measuring it against things (like) coaches’ recommendations, the data, what’s going on,” Morgan was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo

Silverwood’s tactic, however, did not bear fruit as Sri Lanka bowlers were smashed all around the ground by Bangladesh batters. The Shakib al Hasan-led side was able to put 183/7 on the board in 20 overs. Asitha Fernando and Wanindu Hasaranga were taken to the cleaners by the Bangladesh batters as the two Sri Lanka bowlers gave away runs in excess of 10 per over.

There is no rocket science- Chris Silverwood

When asked what those messages meant, in the post-match interview, Silverwood said, “There is no rocket science. They are just suggestions for the captain at what would be a good match at a particular point for a batsman when he is on strike. There are a lot of teams doing it now, it’s just as simple as it is, really. It’s just giving suggestions that the captain can use, it’s not telling him how to captain. It’s just a suggestion from the side.

Sri Lanka, however, was able to win the all-important tie on the back of captain Shanaka’s 45-run knock and some poor bowling from the Bangladesh side. With this win, Sri Lanka has qualified for the Super Four. Meanwhile, the road to Asia Cup supremacy ends here for Bangladesh.

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