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October 3, 2010
Shashikala Siriwardene, who returns as captain of the Sri Lankan team for the ICC Women's Cricket Challenge, has said she's keen to begin her second leadership stint on winning note. The tournament, featuring teams ranked between five and ten in a series of one-day and Twenty20 matches, will be held in Potchefstroom in South Africa between October 6th and 16th.
Siriwardene, a 25-year-old allrounder who has played 46 ODIs, was captain from 2005 to 2009, before she was demoted and then dropped from the team for last year's ICC World Twenty20. "My job is to prove that I can take my team forward and improve the rankings," she said. "We can be on par with the best four teams in the world."
She will take over as captain from 31-year-old Chamani Seneviratna, who has been on the international circuit since 1997. "She is a very senior player and has been in the team since women's cricket started in Sri Lanka," Siriwardene said. "We have a good relationship and is still in the squad. She is also advising and telling me what needs to be done. Together we will take the team forward."
Sri Lanka have played only two one-dayers in the past 18 months, and the upcoming tournament provides them much-needed matches. "This will be a good exposure trip for us because we play teams like Pakistan often but not other sides like Netherlands and Ireland," she said. "It is a huge opportunity for us to show Sri Lanka and the world that we belong at this level."
Sri Lanka will play a one-dayer against each of the five other teams in the competition - South Africa, Netherlands, West Indies, Pakistan and Ireland - in seven days starting October 6. They are grouped with Ireland and Pakistan for the Twenty20s that follow.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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