Kumar Sangakkara said his team would make a “very strong impact” on the World Twenty20 with less pressure on it to perform in this format. The tournament, which begins next week in England, marks Sangakkara’s maiden tour as captain since taking over from Mahela Jayawardene, and the team’s return to cricket following the Lahore attack in March.
“I don’t think there is as much pressure on us in the T20 format as an international side as when we play Test cricket and one-day cricket. It is still a format that we are exploring but I think with the side we have, we have a great opportunity to make a very strong impact,” Sangakkara said before his team’s departure for London on Thursday.
Sri Lanka are with Australia and West Indies in Group C, which Sangakkara described as the group of death but also pointed to the opportunities it presented. “You’ve got to win at least one game. But at the end of the day you have to beat the best sides in the world to qualify in a tournament. We’ve just got to take our chances,” he said.
In the inaugural World Twenty20 in South Africa in 2007, Sri Lanka came through unbeaten in their group and qualified for the Super Eight before being eliminated.
Sangakkara said he believed the side had the right balance for the tournament and was confident his sometimes inconsistent batting line-up would play its part in their success. “I am definitely confident of the batting we have. You take [Tillakaratne] Dilshan, Sanath [Jayasuriya], Mahela [Jayawardene], [Jehan] Mubarak, Chamara [Silva] and myself - we’ve got great batting talent to represent the country in a World Cup.
“A hundred and twenty balls is a long time. Even though Twenty20 cricket seems short it is not really that short when you are batting. If you plan your innings right and hopefully execute it on that day any score over 150 would be a very competitive one.”
Sri Lanka’s bowling line-up, he said, was one of the best in the tournament.
“There is [Nuwan] Kulasekera, who is no. 1 in the world, Murali, Ajantha [Mendis], Thilan Thushara and Lasith Malinga who has come back so strongly. It’s a great mix but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what you have, you’ve got to walk the walk basically to really get on the field and perform well,” he said.
Sri Lanka have included Angelo Mathews and Farveez Maharoof in the squad, and Sangakkara feels one of them could fill the vacant allrounder spot. “Angelo is a batting allrounder and Maharoof, a bowling allrounder. One of them has got the ability to put their hands up and become that allrounder that all sides are looking for and one we haven’t had for a long time.”
Indika de Saram comes into the side after a long time on the back of some very good domestic performances and Sangakkara described Isuru Udana as an exciting prospect with his change-up. “He was the best performing bowler in the domestic tournament from what I have seen”, he said.
Sri Lanka begin their campaign on June 8 against Australia at Trent Bridge and take on West Indies two days later at the same venue in Group C.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Friday, May 29th, 2009 and is filed under Cricket, General.
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