Vaas and Murali return for World Cup
Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan returned to the fray as Sri Lanka retained the bulk of their 15-man squad currently touring India, for the World Cup. Upul Chandana and Nuwan Zoysa, the men who replaced the the rested duo, were the only ones not included for the trip to the West Indies.
Russel Arnold, recently recalled to the side, will vie for a middle-order spot with Marvan Atapattu, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Chamara Silva. Dilshan, Malinga Bandara, Nuwan Kulasekera, Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Farveez Maharoof and Lasith Malinga are first-timers in the World Cup. Kulasekera, 24 will fill the role of fifth medium-pacer in the side.
"We feel this is the right combination for the World Cup," Asantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors, told reporters. "The team has got a nice blend of youth and experience. We are well prepared and we feel this team can go all the way to win the World Cup."
De Mel was confident this squad had what was needed for a repeat of Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup title. "The side has got firepower at the top of the order and there's a solid middle order too," he said. "Add to that we have the kind of bowlers who can contain and bowl sides out. The squad has variation and most players are experienced as well."
Mahela Jayawardene, who expectedly retained the captaincy, felt Sri Lanka's recent success overseas kept them in good stead for the World Cup. "We are competing much better overseas," he said. "India actually started our revival [Sri Lanka have won 21 of 41 ODIs since they lost 1-6 to India in 2005]. When we lost those six matches badly we had a chat and asked ourselves where we wanted to be in one year's time. Today we are in a different situation, performing consistently. We have grown up as a team and we have put a lot of results together."
Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Marvan Atapattu, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chamara Silva, Chaminda Vaas, Farveez Maharoof, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Malinga Bandara.