Team Sri Lanka for ICC World Cup 2011
Hot favorites, Sri Lanka can safely be considered the most rampant and furious side to take on come the 2011 Cricket World Cup. The last world cup in the West Indies brought joy to the Sri Lankan lions until they played the finals and faced a heavy defeat at the hands of the Aussies; a loss that had combined powers of rain, Gilly (Adam Gichrist) and some accurate bowling by the Australians.
For the Sri Lankan lions, Gilly is gone for good and so that fierce bowling attack but what is good about now is the fact that Sri Lanka still have pretty much the same squad intact that got them through to the finals in the last World Cup before the bubble burst at last. Although Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas failed to make their place in the world cup preliminary squad, the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Muttiah Muralitharan, Lasith Malinga and Tilkaratne Dilshan give Sri Lanka’s chances a real boost.
The fact that plenty of youngsters have put their hands up and taken the responsibility to keep the side afloat is a huge positive: this includes all-rounders, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera, and once known as the mystery spinner, Ajantha Mendis. Another plus point for Sri Lanka is that they make full use of home conditions so a home advantage is highly and likely a possibility that earns the team an edge over most others. Yes, the records prove so.
Sri Lanka have had a dream run in year 2010 under the captaincy of Kumar Sangakkara with the team emerging victorious in all one-day series played in the year and also beating Australia in Australia. That simply goes to show the sort of form the team is in and that it won’t be an easy task for teams to topple over a toughie like Sri Lanka given their immaculate assessment of sub-continental conditions and more importantly, their sheer strength of adaptability. It is interesting that following their World Cup success in 1996 final against Australia, Sri Lanka faced tough challenge from Australia in the following tournaments where they were defeated in the semi-finals and then deprived of gold in the final, respectively. Hmm, that means that if they carry this sort of progression going into this World Cup, Sri Lanka will be another step ahead this time and go on to win the World Cup? Well, that is what the pattern indicates but all in good time, we suppose.
Also intriguing is the fact that the 1996 World Cup superstar, Aravinda De Silva has been vocal about the Lions chances for the upcoming tournament. He was quoted to have said, “We have a very good chance of winning another World Cup, not because it is being played in the subcontinent but because we have one of the best bowling attacks in the competition with Murali and Lasith. Our top-order batting is second to none. If at all there is a weakness, it would be in the middle order, which needs to be addressed. The team need not be under pressure but should go out and enjoy their cricket, keep to the basics and do it right.”
Sri Lanka will have the services of Tilakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga; righthand-left hand combinations that will help the team get off to a flying start. Captain, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaweera account for a rock-solid middle order for the lions who would surely be the top run-getters for the side. Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are two potent all-rounders in the side who can prove crucial at any stage of the match and bear the strength to turn the match on its head. With the ability to bowl fast two crushing yorkers and some very accurate slow ball bouncers, Nuwan Kulasekara and Lasith ‘the Slinga’ Malinga form no. 8 and no. 9 spot. By the way, do NOT underestimate their batting abilities either (highlight from recent one-day series against Australia). Right at the tail of the team rests another left arm-right arm combination but here we are dealing with the deadly spin twins, Rangana Herath and Muttiah ‘the similing Assassin’ Muralitharan. Both the bowlers will be key if Sri Lanka is to taste World Cup glory once more.
Conclusively, with a team this talented and experienced it is going to be more of an uphill task for the opposition to make inroads into the line-up unless major accidents happen. Therefore, the stage is set for Sri Lanka to step ahead and remark history with yet another World Cup win but will it come to pass is a question only a question of their consistency and commitment.
Sri Lanka 15-man Squad
Kumar Sangakkara (captain)
Mahela Jayawardene (vice-captain)