ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / News
Sri Lanka v England, World Cup 2011, Colombo
Muralitharan fit for quarter-final
March 25, 2011
Sri Lanka received a huge boost ahead of their World Cup quarter-final match against England on Saturday when their key spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was declared fit to play. Muralitharan bruised his knee and suffered a hamstring injury while batting during Sri Lanka's final Group A fixture against New Zealand at Mumbai six days ago.
Sri Lanka were left worrying over Muralitharan's fitness ahead of the England match, but Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara laid to rest all the fears when he said, "Murali is fine to play and 100 percent okay, which is great for us."
Despite his injury Muralitharan, who had to twice leave the field for treatment, took four wickets to bowl his team to victory over New Zealand. "Murali is a guy who rises to the occasion and does really well at big games. So the side feels confident about what he can produce for us in important games," said Sangakkara.
Sangakkara and his team know that to it is left to them to prolong Muralitharan's one-day career for as long as possible, and at least up to the final on April 2. Muralitharan, who is the leading wicket-taker in Tests (800 wickets) and in ODI cricket (530 wickets), has announced that he is retiring from one-day cricket at the end of the World Cup. "That's exactly the way we are going to look at it and that's exactly how we are going to try and play this game," said Sangakkara.
"I think the rest of the guys will support each other and we will do our utmost to make sure that we do everything we want to win. It's a do-or-die for all the teams playing in the quarterfinals. Our guys are really focused and very well tuned into what's happening. They'll look to do everything they can to win," he said.
Sangakkara said that it didn't matter to his team whom they met in the quarterfinals, but if they had to win the World Cup they must compete with the best. "Whoever you meet in this format you've got to beat to win something like the World Cup. Whether we played India, Australia or England our focus is going to be the same," said Sangakkara.
"We aren't trying to choose who we meet in the quarters and try and adjust ourselves or that kind of thing. We are just going to enjoy every single game we play and tomorrow's not going to be any different," he added.
Sangakkara defended his brittle middle order which has not been tested properly in the group stages. "I think the middle order is good. They are the best players we have in Sri Lanka and some of them are equal to the best players in the world. It's hard to judge the middle order when they get only 10-15 overs in games. In the Sri Lankan side everyone is confident and everyone trusts each other. We are not only confident only in ourselves, but we are also confident in each others' ability and it's no different when it comes to the middle order.
"Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Angelo Mathews and Chamara Kapugedera are the best players we have to do that job. We have done it against the best opposition in the world and they will keep doing this as before."
Sangakkara said there won't be any huge changes in the team composition. "We have not 100 percent decided yet. The team has performed well so there won't be any huge changes, but only where it is necessary," he said.