The Sri Lanka cricketers led by new captain Kumar Sangakkara will take wing today to England for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup tournament starting on June 5. The Sri Lankans find themselves in a tough group with Australia and West Indies as their opponents. The first hurdle they will have to clear is beating one of these teams, if they are to move on to the Super eight group, the semi-finals and then god willing the final and the trophy. The Lankans play Australia on the 8 and West Indies on the 10 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
Pity that the Lankans have not been given a game at the Kennington Oval or the Mecca of cricket Lord’s. But that is how it goes.Addressing the media at the Cricket Board Headquarterson Tuesday, skipper Sangakkara said that he has the talent and theconfidence to beat their opponents.”
We have some plans and strategies as to how we should go against our opponents. If we play to form,there is no reason why we should not get the better of our opponents. Sangakkara said that in addition to the experienced seniors, he has some highly talented juniors with him. While the opponents will know how the seniors go, it is advantageous to have the juniors, because the opponents will not have a know how of the capabilities of the juniors.
The winners in this style of game are those who execute correctly the needs of this game. There is no time to think, because runs have to be made off each ball, not caring how it comes, but that it comes.When bowling it has to be wicket to wicket and curtailing the batsman’s ability to score.
What is very important is that the fielding, especially the catching be spot on. A big responsibility rests on the broad shoulders of the elder statesman in the team Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayasuriya has proved himselfin this style of game and knows how to adjust. He has promised to deliver this time round. Batsmen of the calibre of the
skipper, Tillekeratne Dilshan, former skipper Mahela Jayawardena, Chamara Silva, Indika de Saram and Farveez Mahroof must strike it rich with the bat. The good news is that Mahela Jayawardena is quickly responding to treatment and is fast recovering. “I am still not back to full fitness. But when tournament time comes around, I’ll be raring to go”, said a beaming Jayawardena who was reaching his peak batting form when he suffered a muscle damage.
Lasith Malinga, now that he has regained full fitness and showed good form in the IPL Twenty20 will have to lead the pack of bowlers.
Spinners Ajantha Mendis, Muttiah Muralitheran and Sanath Jayasuriya must curb the batsmen. The conditions will be cold, similar to the conditions some of the players experienced in South Africa. The wickets at Trent Bridge will be more swing friendly and while the bowlers will have to have control, the batsmen will have to get in line before executing. The cricketers have been fortunate to have with them the chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket D. Somachandra de Silva a former national cap. DeSilva a former leg spinning all-rounder knows what the cricketers need.”
The players must have peace of mind to perform. I have looked into every need of the players and gone out of the way to please them. The players too have confidence in me and together we have formed a good rapport”, said the chairman and advisor to President Mahinda Rajapaksa on cricket. He is confident that the players will mark his appointment as chairman of Sri Lanka Cricket by flying back with the ICC Twenty20 trophy.
The Lankans will not have to worry about security. The organisers have spread out a security blanket and the tournament should go on without a hitch.