World T20 2014 March 15, 2014

Chandimal upbeat about Sri Lanka's prospects

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Top-ranked in the format for 17 months, exultant and exalted after the Asia Cup win, all after six loss-less weeks in Bangladesh - if World Twenty20 has a favourite, it must be the Sri Lanka team. There is the small matter of final-phobia, seemingly induced by pressure, but captain Dinesh Chandimal is not a man to back away from a challenge, even when he is outmatched. As the team prepares to leave for Bangladesh, he embraced the hopes that have been heaped high upon them, instead of downplaying Sri Lanka's prospects.

"There's a lot of expectation among the fans that we will win the tournament as well, and even within the team, there is a belief that we can win this," Chandimal said. "We played in Bangladesh for two and a half months, so we have some experience on how the wicket is behaving there and also when the dew factor comes into play. Most of the players in the World Twenty20 squad played in the Bangladesh tour, so that's a big advantage.

"It's a great opportunity, but we can't take it for granted. We will have to put in a lot of effort, and take it from game to game - first working towards the semi-final. We have some things up our sleeve. We have a game plan for each team. Everyone is set for the short format, and we're looking forward to that."

Sri Lanka have England, South Africa and New Zealand in their group, in addition to a yet-to-be-determined qualifier, and though Chandimal acknowledged the fickle nature of Twenty20 cricket, he felt his team were well-placed for the group stage.

"There's a big advantage in our group, because out of the four teams, three aren't very familiar with subcontinent conditions. But we don't take any team lightly. In Twenty20, a match can turn in one or two overs. But we have plans for each team, and we'll use that."

Perhaps the most obvious chink in Sri Lanka's game, has been Chandimal's own Twenty20 form. He averages 13.36 in the format - worse in the past 12 months. Chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya suggested team management would back Chandimal to the hilt in the tournament, but Chandimal himself did not warm to the notion of moving to a preferred spot up the order to improve his output.

"I've been a little uncomfortable in the middle, but I've been practicing hard," he said. "The question is not whether I can play better at No. 3, it's what will be better for the team. If I can come in and perform, then I will bat in that position. But if there is someone better suited to that position, he will go in. We are looking at what the team needs to do and how the team can win. That's how we're approaching it."

Chandimal did not speak of Sri Lanka's recent history of botched finals, but Jayasuriya - who had been similarly upbeat about the team's World Twenty20 chances - said Sri Lanka's jinx had now been lifted.

"Since 2007 we have done well in ICC events, but unfortunately we faltered in the final. But I think during the Asia Cup we came out of that barrier. We won chasing 260. That gave us confidence. We put undue pressure on ourselves when we scores of 260 or so, but I think now the players are experienced enough to adapt to such situations. We didn't win the finals, but the good thing is that we have reached those finals."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Big_Brother_of_Cricket on March 17, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    Game plan to win T20 WC: Step 1: Drop Chandimal and add Thirimanne or Chathuranga in his place Step 2: Give the captaincy to Mathews. Repeat this each game and you'll win the cup for sure.

  • bjcm12 on March 17, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    Chandimal maybe upbeat but his poor performance has ruined T20 cricket. He needs to be replaced as captain. We will definitely lose the number 1 position in this WC. This chap will definitely fail.

  • TheKeeper on March 16, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Give it a break guys. Sri Lanka is ranked #1 in t20 over the last 17 months under the captaincy of Chandimal.

  • on March 16, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    Mahela,Kushal, Chandi,Sanga,Mathewes,Thisara,Seekuge,Kula,Sachi,Mali, Mendis

  • dunger.bob on March 16, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Dilshan looked like a foal on skates for much of the BBL. What's wrong with him? He's normally way better than that. .. Malinga was there too, but he played well. Mr. reliable at the death with those yorkers. He's dropped pace alarmingly but still has the accuracy so he gets away with it. .. just saying.

  • on March 16, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    Obviously SL have potential to lift the t20 world cup and chandimal better you perform rather than opening your mouth. chandi, good players perform at any position for them stage is important.

  • Nuwas on March 16, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    BD please give us batting paradises through out the tournament. thanks

  • on March 16, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Yes.. Sri Lanka have a good chance to lift the trophy this time. The team must focus on the possibilities their own and hold the confidence fully. They have Better squad with world class legends like Mahela and Sangakkara- top class youngsters like Chandimala, Thirimanne. SL bowling department is so strong with amazing Malinga and Ajantha . They have a good opportunity this time. All the Best.

  • on March 15, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    As a BD supporter I believe SL is a underrated team always. They have great potential to win this T-20. They are obviously better team playing in the condition of Bangladesh. Dilshan, Sangakara, Mathews, Malinga, Kusal...its an amazing team! they also have young stars . Good luck Lions!

  • on March 15, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Guys relax. Lets wait and watch... This is not another series between two countries. This is all important ICC T20 World Cup...don't try to demotivate our players. We are not in a position to change the captain in this last moment. Let them play as it is. And please guys keep your faith on our boys.... I'm sure they're not going to disappoint us this time....

  • Big_Brother_of_Cricket on March 17, 2014, 4:28 GMT

    Game plan to win T20 WC: Step 1: Drop Chandimal and add Thirimanne or Chathuranga in his place Step 2: Give the captaincy to Mathews. Repeat this each game and you'll win the cup for sure.

  • bjcm12 on March 17, 2014, 2:13 GMT

    Chandimal maybe upbeat but his poor performance has ruined T20 cricket. He needs to be replaced as captain. We will definitely lose the number 1 position in this WC. This chap will definitely fail.

  • TheKeeper on March 16, 2014, 19:26 GMT

    Give it a break guys. Sri Lanka is ranked #1 in t20 over the last 17 months under the captaincy of Chandimal.

  • on March 16, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    Mahela,Kushal, Chandi,Sanga,Mathewes,Thisara,Seekuge,Kula,Sachi,Mali, Mendis

  • dunger.bob on March 16, 2014, 6:28 GMT

    Dilshan looked like a foal on skates for much of the BBL. What's wrong with him? He's normally way better than that. .. Malinga was there too, but he played well. Mr. reliable at the death with those yorkers. He's dropped pace alarmingly but still has the accuracy so he gets away with it. .. just saying.

  • on March 16, 2014, 4:12 GMT

    Obviously SL have potential to lift the t20 world cup and chandimal better you perform rather than opening your mouth. chandi, good players perform at any position for them stage is important.

  • Nuwas on March 16, 2014, 3:22 GMT

    BD please give us batting paradises through out the tournament. thanks

  • on March 16, 2014, 0:56 GMT

    Yes.. Sri Lanka have a good chance to lift the trophy this time. The team must focus on the possibilities their own and hold the confidence fully. They have Better squad with world class legends like Mahela and Sangakkara- top class youngsters like Chandimala, Thirimanne. SL bowling department is so strong with amazing Malinga and Ajantha . They have a good opportunity this time. All the Best.

  • on March 15, 2014, 21:45 GMT

    As a BD supporter I believe SL is a underrated team always. They have great potential to win this T-20. They are obviously better team playing in the condition of Bangladesh. Dilshan, Sangakara, Mathews, Malinga, Kusal...its an amazing team! they also have young stars . Good luck Lions!

  • on March 15, 2014, 19:59 GMT

    Guys relax. Lets wait and watch... This is not another series between two countries. This is all important ICC T20 World Cup...don't try to demotivate our players. We are not in a position to change the captain in this last moment. Let them play as it is. And please guys keep your faith on our boys.... I'm sure they're not going to disappoint us this time....

  • KANCHANA623 on March 15, 2014, 17:15 GMT

    Mathews should takeover immediately. Chandimal was once a good player. He was pleasing to the eye. Unfortunately some people ruin with fame. Added responsibly has drained off his talents and unless immediately he is demoted from captaincy it will be a tragic news stating that a talented player retires very early from world cricket due to consistent lack of form.

  • COOLANKA on March 15, 2014, 13:25 GMT

    chandimal only can upbeat but he can't be sure place in the team, i don't know what the selectors are thinking that chandimal is not a t20 player or ODI...

  • nickexplore on March 15, 2014, 10:31 GMT

    Sanath Jayasuriya showed before the Asia Cup final that he is not scared to make tough or controversial decisions - selecting Priyanjan over Chandimal and leaving out top wicket-taker Ajantha Mendis for Sachitra Senanayake. So, if Chandimal does not perform in the first two matches of the WT20, then he will certainly be dropped, captain or not. Also, if Dilshan is not 100% fit to play - selectors will replace him before the tournament starts.

  • on March 15, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    chanadimal can become chearmal.he is not mature inup to play as captan.what sanath did.

  • on March 15, 2014, 10:00 GMT

    @Nishanth Ravindrakumar: chandimal not playing IPL? No IPL team is interested in him, batting average of 14 at a strike rate of 90 in T20 Internationals, even Kulasekara is better batsman than Chandimal.

  • on March 15, 2014, 9:05 GMT

    Chandimal is a very good batsman, maybe the best among young SL, Thirimanne & Chandi should play regulary. Everybody has bad time. Jsut sombody doesnt like him , maybe he is not form Colombo or not from their college.

  • ms2000 on March 15, 2014, 8:54 GMT

    More than the selectors Chandimal should know where he stands. He has proved over and over again his inability at all 3 forms of the game. This is not the time to give him " another and another chance" there are many youngsters who will and who can perform better than him even at Club Level. unfortunately sri lanka is led bya player who is a B grade club player in Sri Lanka. Good Luck Sri Lanka!

  • on March 15, 2014, 8:22 GMT

    Dear all my srilankan frienda. why? every one ahaninst chandimal? he is now 24 Age and he is learning day by day and he will become a good captain in wc t20 i am sure he need now one big innings 100 . every one plese Malinga going Ipl every year for ambani money is chandi going ipl? chandimal never playing money in ipl lile mathews malinga sanga mahela We respect chandimal salute sir we are here for you.

  • on March 15, 2014, 8:13 GMT

    Chandimal is not a good captain for srilankan t20 side..... Chandimal t20 average 13.87 and strike rate 94.00.... Sri lankan selectors plzzz select thirimmanne or malinga

  • Chaminda_Rat on March 15, 2014, 8:09 GMT

    Good luck lions... make us proud again

  • lazyone on March 15, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    SL selectors have done the biggest mistake by making chandimal captain when he was not even in the playing XI. Mathews can easily captain this simple format. Now there is nothing to be done. They have to continue with it. This should be the final chance for overrated chandimal.

  • Cricketman777 on March 15, 2014, 8:02 GMT

    DauD_ this is the same sri lankan team that beat the "powerhouse" australian team 2-0 in their own backyard a year ago...........

  • zavahir on March 15, 2014, 7:57 GMT

    Give Chandimal a long break may be he will recover him test form. May be Sanath also can join him till the end of World Cup 2015.

  • on March 15, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Yeah sure, we should all be upbeat...as long as Chandimal is dropped. The guy's a waste of a batting spot. Sure, he's a good fielder but no one's in the team just for their fielding prowess. Drop him, please. He's going to be the bane of our existence in this series. :/

  • St.John on March 15, 2014, 7:26 GMT

    Very likeable lad Chandimal, but hopelessly out of his depth in T20 cricket. SL needs a captain who can lead from the front. SL selectors are stubborn and wont admit their mistakes or listen to the many fans lamenting Chandimals inclusion..

  • on March 15, 2014, 7:21 GMT

    chandimal must rest

  • Ramansilva on March 15, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Chandi, Please please find your form and rhythm. We want you to gradually establish in all forms of cricket. As you know and we know there are lot of talent in SL pool but not captain material. Emulate Atapattu please. After so many failures he rose as phenix and rendered yeomen service to Sri Lanka. You are our next Atapattu.

  • DauD_ on March 15, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    lol, with Chandimal as captain, SL are going to get hammered by Australia.

    Warner, Finch, Watson, Maxwell, Bailey, Hodge, White, Faulkner, Haddin, Johnson, Starc and the list goes on. Australia are too powerful.

  • on March 15, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Chandimal is wasting a place for another new comer or for another in form player. A front line batsman with 13 Average and strike rate less than 100 is worst situation. Why cant we go with Mathews as T20 captain too. His captaincy is not up to the standard too. Thanks to team unity, born skills and help from pitches along with experienced like Sanga, we are still in No. 1. There is no contribution from so called captain chandimal for this achievement what so ever. If you want to go for finals, remove chandimal.

  • chandimasl on March 15, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    As most of the fans mentioned here I also do agree that dropping chandimal is essential at this moment.however the team has already been selected.it should note that not only chandimal but also dilshan is in horrible form since big bash league.

    And also since we have SA,ENG,NZ in the league matches we should note that they are reluctant to play against leg spinners.so the captain should include Seekuge prasanna in every match,and he should bowl the 4 overs.the captain should persistant with his bowling.and the important thing is prasanna's batting fire power.it can relieve the pressure on thisara.

    I prefer rangana herath than chathuranga de silva because herath will be much more useful if we have to face against IND or PAK.because he isexperienced.he proved it in last t20 wc against PAK.

    Wish all the very best SL LIONS.

  • vallavarayar on March 15, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Chandimal would be ideally suited to being the water-boy. He can convey his ideas to the players while not deterring the teams progress.

  • on March 15, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    Exactly siddharth - its so obvious to everyone else also in Sri lanka, except to the selectors- Chandimal is just excess baggage that the sri Lankan team is carrying right now - he is woeful - he has not performed nor won any matches - he just moves up and down the order depending on the circumstance and does the bare minimum - it just a waste of a top order batsman - or an all rounder that we can pick in his place

  • amilag on March 15, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I am sure Chandi will perform well WCT20. He is a class act and wonderful strikers of cricket ball.

    SL will definitely win this T 20 world cup!

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    indeed, game plan no 1 should be dropping chandimal, nt just from the playing 11 but the whole squad

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    Indeed Sl Are red hot favourites in the world cup. We have well balanced team.

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    I agree with Siddhartha87, drop chandimal for god sake. T20 world cup is not a place for chandimal to find his form n work on improving his batting. this is the prob with SL, they r reluctant to drop out of form players in major tournaments. Drop all our of form guys n play with the guys who r in form. the pay grade and quality doesnt matter. Play guys who r in form.

    Chandimal hasnt proven himself really, he was appointed as captain coz we ran short of captains. Chandimal not even close to guys like kholi or umar akmal n all the new guys. Just coz he is playing for Sri Lanka, u cant blindly support him.

  • on March 15, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Chandimal seriously needs to find some rhythm and contribute more because he is a very talented young man and everybody knows that.

    Like Chandimal has said, we can't take any team lightly, because it's T20 and the game can be decided in one or two overs.

    Good luck, Lions! Go get 'em! ;)

    BTW last paragraph penultimate line should be 'when we CHASE scores of 260 or so' right? :P

  • siddhartha87 on March 15, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    GAMe PLAN NO 1 for Sri Lanka: Drop Chandimal

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • siddhartha87 on March 15, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    GAMe PLAN NO 1 for Sri Lanka: Drop Chandimal

  • on March 15, 2014, 4:52 GMT

    Chandimal seriously needs to find some rhythm and contribute more because he is a very talented young man and everybody knows that.

    Like Chandimal has said, we can't take any team lightly, because it's T20 and the game can be decided in one or two overs.

    Good luck, Lions! Go get 'em! ;)

    BTW last paragraph penultimate line should be 'when we CHASE scores of 260 or so' right? :P

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:13 GMT

    I agree with Siddhartha87, drop chandimal for god sake. T20 world cup is not a place for chandimal to find his form n work on improving his batting. this is the prob with SL, they r reluctant to drop out of form players in major tournaments. Drop all our of form guys n play with the guys who r in form. the pay grade and quality doesnt matter. Play guys who r in form.

    Chandimal hasnt proven himself really, he was appointed as captain coz we ran short of captains. Chandimal not even close to guys like kholi or umar akmal n all the new guys. Just coz he is playing for Sri Lanka, u cant blindly support him.

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:18 GMT

    Indeed Sl Are red hot favourites in the world cup. We have well balanced team.

  • on March 15, 2014, 5:23 GMT

    indeed, game plan no 1 should be dropping chandimal, nt just from the playing 11 but the whole squad

  • amilag on March 15, 2014, 5:42 GMT

    I am sure Chandi will perform well WCT20. He is a class act and wonderful strikers of cricket ball.

    SL will definitely win this T 20 world cup!

  • on March 15, 2014, 6:14 GMT

    Exactly siddharth - its so obvious to everyone else also in Sri lanka, except to the selectors- Chandimal is just excess baggage that the sri Lankan team is carrying right now - he is woeful - he has not performed nor won any matches - he just moves up and down the order depending on the circumstance and does the bare minimum - it just a waste of a top order batsman - or an all rounder that we can pick in his place

  • vallavarayar on March 15, 2014, 6:41 GMT

    Chandimal would be ideally suited to being the water-boy. He can convey his ideas to the players while not deterring the teams progress.

  • chandimasl on March 15, 2014, 6:42 GMT

    As most of the fans mentioned here I also do agree that dropping chandimal is essential at this moment.however the team has already been selected.it should note that not only chandimal but also dilshan is in horrible form since big bash league.

    And also since we have SA,ENG,NZ in the league matches we should note that they are reluctant to play against leg spinners.so the captain should include Seekuge prasanna in every match,and he should bowl the 4 overs.the captain should persistant with his bowling.and the important thing is prasanna's batting fire power.it can relieve the pressure on thisara.

    I prefer rangana herath than chathuranga de silva because herath will be much more useful if we have to face against IND or PAK.because he isexperienced.he proved it in last t20 wc against PAK.

    Wish all the very best SL LIONS.

  • on March 15, 2014, 6:44 GMT

    Chandimal is wasting a place for another new comer or for another in form player. A front line batsman with 13 Average and strike rate less than 100 is worst situation. Why cant we go with Mathews as T20 captain too. His captaincy is not up to the standard too. Thanks to team unity, born skills and help from pitches along with experienced like Sanga, we are still in No. 1. There is no contribution from so called captain chandimal for this achievement what so ever. If you want to go for finals, remove chandimal.