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The three best batsmen and one of the spinners were easy picks. What about the others?
April 1, 2010
News : Sangakkara and Jayawardene in Sri Lanka all-time XI
Players/Officials: Marvan Atapattu | Ashantha de Mel | Somachandra De Silva | Ajit de Silva | Aravinda de Silva | Sanath Jayasuriya | Mahela Jayawardene | Arjuna Ranatunga | Rumesh Ratnayake | Kumar Sangakkara | Chaminda Vaas
Teams: Sri Lanka
Other links: Sri Lanka all-time XI
How dearly the national selectors would love to have a Cricinfo jury to help them pick the national teams, going by how straightforward the selection of Sri Lanka's all-time XI turned out to be.
The middle order of Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Mahela Jayawardene, and champion spinner Muttiah Muralitharan, were all unanimous picks, with 10 votes apiece.
Left-arm spinner Ajit de Silva and legspinner DS de Silva were tied for the spot of Muralitharan's spin partner; but with Murali dominating from one end and Chaminda Vaas, whose nine votes justify his place as the spearhead of the bowling attack, from the other, you could assume the three other bowlers in the XI would have little to do.
Rumesh Ratnayake, with a slinging action in the Jeff Thomson mould and an ability to cause discomfort to batsmen, gets the nod ahead of a similar bowler, Lasith Malinga. Ashantha de Mel makes up the three-pronged pace attack ahead of Ravi Ratnayeke.
With former captain Arjuna Ranatunga taking up his customary position at No. 6, the batting looks quite a strong and attractive line-up. Which brings us to the question of the wicketkeeper. Having three seamers (with Vaas in the allrounder role) and two spinners means Sangakkara has to perform the duties behind the stumps. With the advent of Twenty20 cricket, the joy of wicketkeeping has largely been lost, with emphasis being laid on a batting wicketkeeper rather than a wicketkeeper-batsman. And so there is no place for excellent glovemen like Mahes Goonatilleke or Prasanna Jayawardene, whose lightning-fast reflexes have always been a joy to watch, whether standing up to a spinner or back to a fast bowler.
Cricinfo readers' XI
We invited readers to vote on the nominees in each segment. Here's who they picked.
Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva, Mahela Jayawardene, Arjuna Ranatunga, Chaminda Vaas, Lasith Malinga, Rumesh Ratnayake, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.
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