LONDON: Sri Lanka cricket coach Mickey Arthur is worried about the lack of depth in the middle order as his team gears up to take on England in six white-ball matches, beginning with a T20 International in Cardiff on June 23.
The three-match ODI series will commence on June 29 and conclude on July 4.
"In Bangladesh, we got caught a little bit through the middle overs and that's one area where we've focused hard on in our practice and preparation (in England). It's about the intensity required through that middle period. Our strike rotation and intensity at the crease are really areas that we've worked on in this training block," said Arthur, who has been with the team since February 2020.
Sri Lanka had lost the ODI series against Bangladesh 2-1 in May with all the matches being played at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium.
Arthur feels that one of the major reasons for the middle-order not clicking is shortage of players for the No. 4, 5, 6 slots, with far too many batsmen vying for top-order slots.
"We've reclassified guys' roles. We've got a lot of players who can bat Nos. 1, 2 and 3, but we didn't have many guys who could bat 4, 5 and 6. We've consolidated that here in our training session (in England). One of two players has had to change the roles that we've had before. We can't be top-heavy and have no one who can bat in the middle and finish for us," Arthur told cricinfo.com.
"We've knuckled down on the roles of each guy and set the scenarios up in the nets to replicate that. I've got a clear plan on who's going to drop into the middle. If you look at Kusal (Perera), Avishka (Fernando) and Danushka (Gunathilaka) at 1, 2 and 3, that's pretty good. We need to drill down and get 4, 5 and 6 batting comfortably within their roles as well, so that those middle overs -- when we need to rotate strike -- we've actually practiced it and the people we've sent into those positions can handle it."
"We've got to settle down on a batting order as soon as we can. We can't be jumping around having players bat in so many positions because that just creates confusion. Each position is so different."