February 4, 2008

A virtual world championship

The CB Series features the top three ODI sides in the world at the moment, playing in a format that ensures the best side will win

Sri Lanka's bowling attack has plenty of variety, which will be the key to success in Australia © AFP

Australia is a very good place to play one-day cricket in. The wickets are very fair, and more often than not, the bat dominates. The grounds are great and so are the facilities. Having played there enriches your cricketing experience.

It can be said that sometimes the subcontinental teams struggle in Australia because of the big grounds. But it's not always the case that they don't adapt their game to the bigger grounds: even on big grounds, cricketers do hit sixes and fours. It is just a case of making sure that you do what works for you and are always in control and don't try to overdo things just because of the size of the grounds.

This series features perhaps the three best teams in the world. We know it's going to be tough. Australia and India are two very good one-day sides. We know the make-ups of their teams and the dangers that they present. We will be trying to concentrate on what we do best, and staying in control of what we do, while working hard on beating them.

The CB Series format is unique and tests the teams thoroughly. More often the most consistent side wins this tournament. You have the best-of-three finals, which means that just because you've reached the final and won one game, you are not home and dry. To win in a tournament like this, you have to perform consistently and truly be the best side throughout the whole tournament. That gives you an opportunity to showcase exactly how good you are as a team.

On the first leg of the tour of Australia late last year, we played two Tests, and then went back and played a series at home. So I don't think acclimatisation will be an issue. Coming back is not like being chucked into the unknown. We have had three practice games to play ourselves in, so it should not be too difficult for our guys to adjust.

The guys are now a lot more knowledgeable about their own games. That is particularly important if you want to do well on tours: knowing your game, fine-tuning it, and trying to improve it everyday. As a team we are just going to focus on what we are good at, the Sri Lankan brand of cricket: being aggressive and positive throughout, bowling disciplined lines and lengths, and backing it up with the best fielding performance we can muster.

Discipline with the ball will be important. Nowadays you see very few ODIs where bowling sides run through batsmen; it is very difficult to blast people out, especially with the wickets getting better by the day. The side that bowls the most disciplined lines and lengths comes out on top. You might have the best fast bowling attack in the world, but that is no guarantee that you can go out and dominate batsmen.

Our advantage is that we have a varied attack. In the past three or four years, our guys have become better at holding their own when it comes to bowling great areas. That's exactly what we are going to work on: to make sure we have the variety and the accuracy to put pressure on the opposition, and if we can do that for a longer period than the opposition, we know have a great chance of winning.

Nowadays you see very few ODIs where bowling sides run through batsmen; it is very difficult to blast people out, especially with the wickets getting better by the day. The side that bowls the most disciplined lines and lengths comes out on top

With the start of the one-dayers, I am back to keeping wicket, which is something I have always enjoyed. It is going to be an interesting series for me. I am pretty happy with my personal batting form, but that is hardly a guarantee for a good performance. I am just concentrating on working hard in the nets, to make sure I am confident coming out of training, and carry that confidence into the game.

We are excited to have a few new players who weren't with us for the Tests. Ishara Amerasinghe, Dilruwan Perera, Chanaka Welegedara, and Chamara Kapugedera are all promising cricketers who have not just talent but ability. They will be raring to go out and play and show what they can do.

The last time we played ODIs, we lost the series to England at home, but that is not going to bother us. This is a different situation, a different time, and we have grown out of that. We have become a better unit since then. It will be interesting to see how we measure up against these two sides. We are here to try and win the series, but we are under no illusion that it is going to be easy.

Despite the friction going on between the Indian and Australian teams, and our board also taking a stand, there was never a worry on our part about the future of the series. We knew exactly where we stood as a team. We were watching what was going on with interest. We are happy everything has been settled to a degree of satisfaction and that we are getting back to cricket, which is what all the teams are here for.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sreyesh on February 5, 2008, 21:06 GMT

    Eventhough this is a ODI series, KS like a true professional rated a team by their test status. ICC Test Rankings : Aus (1), Ind (2), SL (3). So he is right. 3 best sides in the world. Also, he said "perhaps the 3 best sides in the world". & yes, absolutely true. & there is a chance for every team to win. probably the most nail biting finals would be if SL & Ind play finals, if Aussies qualify, we all know who is going to win that. It is very sad that this is the last CB Series. Just to clear some air, yes SL & Ind are star strudded, Sanath & Sachin alone share 800+ ODI's and 30,000 runs between them.

  • Rohan on February 5, 2008, 16:23 GMT

    Kumar Sangakkara is just giving his personal opinion when he states "This series features perhaps the three best teams in the world"

    Australia is the undisputed No1, Sri Lanka were the World Cup Finalist and India is a very fine team on par with South Africa and New Zealand I should think with players in the calibre of Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Kumble, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Sehwag(not to mention Dravid and Ganguly who are not playing in this tournament!).

    I dont understand what all this debate is about. If the strength of cricket teams are decided by rankings then we wouldnt need the world cup to crown the world chamipions!

    By the way, when have New Zealand or South Africa ever featured in a World cup final let alone win one!?

  • Nafi on February 5, 2008, 4:43 GMT

    And just to make something clear, South Africa didn't become 2nd and 3rd by JUST beating West Indies and Bangladesh; if you beat a team lower ranked than you it counts less, the more lower the more less it counts to your ranking.

  • Nafi on February 5, 2008, 4:39 GMT

    whits106, if India and Sri Lanka do have so many match winners, than how about they win some matches to really become the top 3.

  • Amila on February 5, 2008, 2:48 GMT

    I think Sanga is spot on,Even though Sri Lanka and India sitting below the three best teams according to the ICC rankings the other teams like South Africa,New Zealand and Pakisthan have had easy wins aginst slightly weeker oppositions.So I think thats a fair statement and most of us will wittness during in this tournament.I think people would be better of focusing on the amount of interest that this series has brought amoung the cricket world,these are the three teams that most of us would love to see in a triangular.

  • Richard on February 5, 2008, 2:39 GMT

    Being from the currently ranked third best team in the world (NZ) I would like to elaborate on a few comments. I disagree with the ICC ratings of including NZ at third. Realistically you can't go past Aus, SA and SL as the best ODI teams in the world with consistency. Upset performances from other teams are mere 'flash in the pans', as was Banglesdesh beating India in the World Cup. NZ recently confirmed this was a real one off performance. I do agree that although an excellent test team that can rival Australia on its day, India with its new selection policy have a somewhat lesser ODI team now. It can't profess to being in the top three, like the test counterpart. I would also like to add comments to that presented by whits106 recently about NZ cricket. I attended a game last year where NZ achieved 350 to beat Australia. The second game in two where NZ posted 330+ to beat the Aussies and win the series 3-0, the first game by 10 wickets. NZ'ers had interest in those games all right!

  • Stuart on February 5, 2008, 2:23 GMT

    whits106 I'd like to argue that NZ deserve that number 3 ranking, of course me being a Kiwi but I somewhat think New Zealand will lose it pretty soon. They gained it from the Chappel-Hadlee series early 07, where we beat a slightly abnormal Australian side 3-0. Hey, we aren't a big nation and there aren't many of us that don't live in New Zealand so it should be expected we won't have many fans going to games outside of New Zealand. It is a shame Vettori is probably are last real world class player, seeing that Bond is now probably never going to play for NZ again. We do have some resonable bowlers, but our batsmen are pretty poor. We'd kill for a Hayden/Ponting/Hussey/Tendulkar/Dravid but we only have players like Stephen Flemming and Scott Styris.

  • Enrico on February 5, 2008, 2:19 GMT

    This tornament would have the "top 3 teamz"( Aus - SL - Ind ) even though they are spread apart in the ICC cricket rankingz. South Africa n New Zealand got beaten by India n Sri lanka in numerous accounts. Even though England bet we Lankans at home we have a better side than last time. It was good 2 see a lot of young guyz in the side like, Ishara Amerasinghe, Dilruwan Perera, Chanaka Welegedara, and Chamara Kapugedera but i would like to see Malinga Bandara in the side as a back up spinner in case Murali gets rested. Lets hope the Sri Lankanz get into the finl with india n beat Australia at their own game!

  • Neil on February 5, 2008, 2:04 GMT

    while it may be the top 3 in the world as Kumar says, the rest of the teams put together would struggle to beat Aus. It's gonna be as exceiting a tournament as watching India, Zimb and Kenya play a series. The winner is predecided barring natural disasters and mass injury. If you're putting your cash on India or SL, I'd advise saving it for the casino.

  • sunil on February 5, 2008, 0:09 GMT

    Let's take a vote instead of squabbling. Assume Sri Lanka is playing Australia and assume S.Sfrica is playing Australia on the same day, same time. (virtually impossible). Which match would people prefer to watch live.

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