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Ranatunga lauds 'special team effort'

Andrew Fidel Fernando

April 9, 2014

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The Sri Lankan team lifts the World T20 trophy, India v Sri Lanka, final, World T20, Mirpur, April 6, 2014
Arjuna Ranatunga: 'Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing together' © ICC
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Players/Officials: Arjuna Ranatunga
Series/Tournaments: World T20
Teams: Sri Lanka

  • Muttiah Muralitharan has also weighed in with praise, paying particular attention to the several months of consistent cricket Sri Lanka had played, in the approach to the WT20. Since arriving in Bangladesh in late January, Sri Lanka won 15 of their 16 straight limited-overs matches in the country, with the only failure having come against England.
  • "We have been playing brilliantly for the last six months. In fact, we haven't lost for a long time," Murali told Indian Express. "We beat India and Pakistan -- title contenders in these conditions -- while winning the Asia Cup, carrying our confidence into this tournament."
  • Murali was also optimistic about Sri Lanka's future prospects, particularly at global events. "It's still far away and difficult to predict so early, but I expect Sri Lanka to be a serious force to reckon with despite the World Cup being played in different conditions. Of course, Australia and New Zealand will have the advantage because they're used to the conditions."
  • "We had Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva. Then came Sanath Jayasuriya, Romesh Kaluwitharana and Marvan Atapattu. Mahela and Sanga arrived close on their heels. Now it's time for youngsters to take over. There are many good players and I expect Lahiru Thirimanne and Angelo Mathews to step into their shoes in this format."

Sri Lanka's first Word Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga has lauded the team's World T20 win as a "special team effort", which bodes well for the future of the team. Sri Lanka's most successful batsman, Mahela Jayawardene, was not among the top-ten tournament run-scorers, while their most penetrative bowler, Nuwan Kulasekara, finished ninth on the wicket-takers' list.

Ranatunga told Inside Sports that the individuals' form through the Asia Cup, and Sri Lanka's experience in Bangladesh conditions had also been significant. "If you look at the tournament, a lot of contributions were made by new players - young players. We should talk about Mahela, and Kumar Sangakkara, as well as Lasith Malinga, who bowled very well, but I feel that every player made a special contribution - not just a minor one.

"Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing together. That's a great sign for the future of Sri Lanka cricket, when these young players are performing at that level."

Those thoughts echo the subtext of tournament XIs released by the ICC and ESPNcricinfo, which feature only Lasith Malinga from the Sri Lanka team. Ranatunga said the campaign had also had four unsung players who made vital contributions.

"There are players who hadn't shone out, like Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath. Sachithra bowled well throughout the tournament and Kulasekara delivered in difficult moments.

"Rangana hadn't played throughout the tournament, but from the moment he came, he was taking wickets and keeping the runs down. Kusal took the pressure off Sangakkara, Dilshan and Mahela, and put it on his own shoulders. He played the same role as Sanath Jayasuriya used to play. Sometimes it seemed like he played bad shots, but that's his style.

"The other thing you have to say is that our fielding was extremely good - better than the other teams."

Ranatunga also lavished praise on Dinesh Chandimal's decision to opt out of the semi-final and final. Chandimal had been in mediocre form in T20 cricket in the past year, and after the team had defeated New Zealand in a match from which he had been banned, Chandimal gave up the captaincy to Lasith Malinga.

"Even though he was not in good form, Sri Lanka has done well, and protected their No. 1 ranking, while he was captain," Ranatunga said. "No one has the right to leave out a captain, and if Chandimal was able to sacrifice his place to protect a winning combination, I think he deserves a lot of praise in this win. It's a great example to other cricketers."

Ranatunga also said that Jayawardene and Sangakkara had timed their T20 international retirements well. "The cricketers are the ones who know better than anyone, when the right time is to go. In the past we've seen that T20 is a young man's game. I'm sure they've made the correct decision."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (April 12, 2014, 23:09 GMT)

Surprised and sad to see Arjuna not saying anything about Mathews. I respected Arjuna but I have doubts now. Earlier he was pushing Kandamby for captaincy and then he is praising Chandimal. Common denominator is all 3 ie Arjuna, Kandamby and Chandimal played for Ananda College. Arjuna does not remember that Mathews with an injury at the last world cup semi final against NZ made some lusty hits when others were choking to guide SL to a win. When Mathews was injured in Semi finals he could not be chosen for the final against India, SL had to do 3 changes and lost. Arjuna never speaks about Mathews, even when he won 2 MOM awards at the T20 WC out of 5 matches we won, but speaks of Chandimal, he does not remember that Mathews was the T20 captain before and had an immaculate record. Disappointing captain cool. Is it because another SL captain cool is emerging ?

Posted by cric1965 on (April 12, 2014, 13:32 GMT)

Kusal perera should improve his batting strength against spinners. His timing is excellent. Need little patience. Will become master blaster in future.

Posted by android_user on (April 12, 2014, 11:08 GMT)

sanga & mahela was not in gud form. but their experience help to win the series. Malinga is not a good captain. he can't win final and semi without sanga & mahela. But there are lot of. good new comers. They are the future of srilankan Cricket.

Posted by android_user on (April 12, 2014, 8:09 GMT)

@Sahul.... road to cup if we consider, neither Sanga nor Mahela had scored considerable score. Mahela only had give 20 except 89 runs scored against England(SL LOST the match) or below runs in most matches while sanga scored 10 or below except in finals. its all the youngsters who take on those matches....especially Mathews, KJP, Thirimanne & all others.

Posted by android_user on (April 12, 2014, 7:16 GMT)

I don't thing so sl strong team with out sanga mahela

Posted by ksquared on (April 12, 2014, 6:38 GMT)

To all the IND fans still bitter about the loss SL were the better team they have only lost a single match out of 16 this year there is no doubt that SL is the best T20 side if not the best limited overs side in the world apart from winning the WT20 they have been ranked no. 1 for the past 2 and1/2 years and it is not going to change anytime soon. Don't be surprised if they become the no. 1 ODI side as well. SL will be strong contenders for the 2015 world cup with a batting line up as strong as anyone and the best allround bowling line up in the world plus most batsmen have performed very well in AUS and NZ

Posted by android_user on (April 12, 2014, 4:56 GMT)

@NP_NY.... It seems that SL has the best youngster strength of all the countries. Sanath's duplicate KJP, Thirimanne with tacticAL batting, Game Changer & excellent capt. Mathews, Power Hitter Thisara, Sachithra with good spin and outstanding fielding, chandimal a captain with high will dedication to team, Kulasekara, Lakmal with excellent pace bowling, Ajantha Mendis outstanding spinner against India & many others like jeevan Mendis,De Silva, Seekuge, Priyanjan are in team..... so accordingly I can see only 2 youngsters Kholi and Ashwin in Indian team.... so my friend now tell me who is the best??

Posted by   on (April 12, 2014, 3:12 GMT)

Samson, We beat you comfortably and are the Champions. If anything Sri Lankan players are underrated than overrated. Always making finals in world cups. Always consistent in ranking

Posted by android_user on (April 11, 2014, 19:22 GMT)

Arujana will always be a good man in terms of cricket! Not only did Chandimal take that wise decision but also all of saw Sri-Lanka's team spirit when Chandimal came running to provide a helmet for one of his team mates on the final vs India.. One united team that!

Posted by Sinhaya on (April 11, 2014, 16:44 GMT)

@NP_NY, fact is that we have too many great youngsters and we have selection headaches. Kusal Perera will pummel the Indian school boy bowling attack into pieces even more brutally than how Sanath Jayasuriya did it. The famous Mumbai massacre in 1997 showed how pathetic is the world's best bowling attack which comes from nowhere other than India haha. Sanath Jayasuriya mauled the world's most penetrative bowling attack when he scored 152 not out in Mumbai in 1997. Indians cant even bat on expressways which is why they got all out for 54 in Sharjah when Sanath Jayasuriya freely scored 189 hahaha.

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