Abu Dhabi: Legendary Sri Lankan batsman, Sanath Jayasuriya on Thursday backed his country's team and captain Tillakaratne Dilshan, saying they needed time and space to recover after losing both the Tests and one-day series to Pakistan.
Sri Lanka lost the fifth and final one-dayer by three wickets on Wednesday, which handed Pakistan a 4-1 series win. They also lost the preceding three-Test series 1-0.
Both teams play a Twenty20 here on Friday to complete the tour which Jayasuriya said had left him disappointed.
"It's a bit disappointing to lose both the series. It would have been ideal had we won at least one series," said Jayasuriya, who is here as a television commentator after retiring earlier this year.
The 42-year-old former said Sri Lanka needed time to revive their fortunes after blooding some new players.
"These are hard times for Sri Lankan cricket," said Jayasuriya, who is also a parliamentarian in his country. "Sri Lanka is going with a number of youngsters so you need to give them some time and space for revival."
Jayasuriya, also a former captain, backed current under-fire skipper Dilshan who has lost three Test and as many one-day series since taking over in April this year.
"He (Dilshan) is a great player and we all have seen what he can do but unfortunately he is going through a lean patch, so we need to have faith in him, he has just got the job and anybody who takes captaincy needs time.
"It's a new team, so you need to have faith in the players and the management in which there is a new coach," said Jayasuriya of the Sri Lanka's Australian coach Geoff Marsh who took over in September this year.
Jayasuriya said he did not agree that players lacked motivation since not being paid since April this year.
"I think it's disaapointing (not to be paid)," said Jayasuriya. "The previous Sri Lankan board made lot of mistakes and were responsible for this mess and because of the administration problems the players are unfortunately paying.
"I am sure they will get payment and also feel that when you play for your country you forget everything. I am happy that they didn't talk about that. They love their country," said Jayasuriya.
The former opener also disagreed that frequent changes in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) were damaging.
"That (changes in SLC) is part of the system, every year it is changed but the players should not be worried about that. In our time we also had the same problems but we never cared about that," said Jayasuriya, who played 110 Tests and 445 one-dayers.
Jayasuriya praised the Pakistan team's performance.
"Pakistan have done well amidst all those accusations and controversies," said Jayasuriya of the spot-fixing scandal which ended in jail terms for Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir.
"Misbah-ul Haq has handled his players well and luckily for him his bowling did well," said Jayasuriya.