Champions League news September 14, 2013

'Best team Sri Lanka have sent' - Thirimanne

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Sri Lanka's makeshift Twenty20 tournament was confirmed only two days before it began and was followed by the board's public spat with Kumar Sangakkara, but Kandurata Maroons captain Lahiru Thirimanne believes Sri Lanka now sends the strongest ever side to represent the country at the Champions League.

Four members of Sri Lanka's frontline Twenty20 side, which has remained atop the world rankings for almost a year, will also play for Kandurata in India. In addition to Thirimanne and Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara are in the squad, along with Rangana Herath, who is not always in the Twenty20 XI, but has bowled crucial spells for Sri Lanka in the shortest format.

Kandurata's supporting cast includes sometime Sri Lanka players and domestic stalwarts Thilina Kandamby and Kaushal Lokuarachchi, as well as earmarked youngsters like allrounder Shehan Jayasuriya and fast bowler Vimukthi Perara.

"I think this is the best team Sri Lanka have sent," Thirimanne said. "We've got some very experienced players - the likes of Sangakkara, Kulasekara, Upul Tharanga and Ajantha Mendis. Whether you look at our bowling or batting, we have a lot of ability and the side is well balanced. We're very happy that we have players like Sangakkara and Herath, who are among the best in the world at the moment."

Spin bowling shapes as a particular strength for Kandurata, who have two slow-bowling allrounders in their ranks in Jayasuriya and Milinda Siriwardene, in addition to Mendis and Herath. Although Mendis' statistics make plain his decline in the longer formats, he still averages 12.84 and has a strike-rate of 12.6 in Twenty20 internationals, where his variety has remained effective.

"We will have a big advantage with the quality of spinners that we have. They will be playing in helpful conditions in India and maybe some of the teams aren't very comfortable against spin - we're playing the New Zealand side in the qualifiers. That said we'll still have to play very well as a team to go through."

Because the Super Fours tournament, through which Kandurata qualified, was only one week in length, the team has only played four matches, but neither Thirimanne nor the coach Chaminda Vaas anticipated a weakness in the side's lack of cohesion.

"We've only played four matches, but we played really well in that tournament, and we've also trained very hard in the last few weeks," Vaas said. "We've got a very balanced team. The batting is balanced and we've got good fast bowlers as well as spinners. We've got the best possible combination to do well in the tournament."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on September 18, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    It should be corrected as the "best team assembled" in a short notice.... They have already lost 2/2 games and it reflects more than the talent that can be notice ONLY on paper is needed to win games. I only feel sad for Sanga....who had to show his legion to the country due to the mistreatment by SLC and SLC ignited mob!!! Any lessons learned from this debacle.....Nothing by the SLC or the Rest of Sri Lanka, as there is no press freedom to express the obvious!!!

  • dummy4fb on September 17, 2013, 8:25 GMT

    thirimane you can do it.............best of Luck

  • dummy4fb on September 16, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    1-Tharanga 2-Kandamby 3-Sangakkara 4-Thirimanne 5-C.Silva 6-K.Loukorachi 7-D.Loukhetige 8-R.Herath 9-Kulasekhara 10-D.Prasad 11-A.Mendis

  • naveen1122 on September 16, 2013, 6:38 GMT

    I think there is no need to worry about any team based on the country, as there are players from all over the world in many teams. We should try to enjoy the cricket being played in the tournament, and nothing should be viewed in the perspective of any country. This is only a tournament played among franchises.

  • dummy4fb on September 16, 2013, 2:04 GMT

    This team could be Sri Lanka's national side.

  • dummy4fb on September 16, 2013, 1:08 GMT

    we want tests not this clt,bpl and ipl jokes

  • espncricinfomobile on September 15, 2013, 20:30 GMT

    common guys this is tbe time for make a history

  • dummy4fb on September 15, 2013, 16:54 GMT

    Waiting for our Awesome win in CLT20 All the best!!!!!

  • mark2011 on September 15, 2013, 10:32 GMT

    Looks pretty balance Side, hopefully they should play well.. and make some impressive performance...ALL THE VERY BEST FOR KANDURAT & Capt Thirimanne..!!!

  • dummy4fb on September 15, 2013, 9:06 GMT

    1-Tharanga 2-Shehan Jayasuriya 3-Sangakkara 4-Thirimanne 5-Kandamby 6-K.Loukorachi 7-D.Loukhetige 8-R.Herath 9-Kulasekhara 10-D.Prasad 11-A.Mendis

    Excellent bowling attack and aggresive batting with cool heads like Sanga and Kandamby... got to fancy ur chances...All the best

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