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September 17, 2012
Even now, some lament the 2011 World Cup final and dwell on the could-have-beens. Perhaps unfairly. There is not much grace for a team who have performed to expectation in crunch games. But their best was not good enough against better teams in previous finals. Unless Sri Lanka can lift their performance to get their hands on that trophy, they will underwhelm fans at home.
The team is also coming into the end of a transition phase, with the young players in the side now showing more skill and maturity. Thisara Perera has been on the forefront of that transformation with the ball, while Angelo Mathews is on the way to becoming one of the game's best finishers. Others like Shaminda Eranga and Dilshan Munaweera will find the current set up a much more stable atmosphere to settle into and than it was twelve months ago when the team was in the middle of a post-World Cup funk. With Mahela Jayawardene set to reassess his captaincy in January, the youngsters must come into their own and reassure the fans that the path ahead is a bright one. What better stage to do that than at a big tournament at home?
In addition to all this, as the team's best Twenty20 batsman, Jayawardene must also ensure his own game is on song. If Munaweera opens alongside Tillakaratne Dilshan, he will have to play telling innings from a less-favoured batting position.
World T20 history
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri LankaFeeds: Andrew Fidel Fernando
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