de Saram ready to hold his own
Batsman Indika de Saram has forced his way into the Sri Lanka ICC World Twenty20 squad and is going to do whatever he can to keep himself at the top. He was surprisingly left out of the provisional squad of 25 picked by the selectors prior to the Twenty20 tournament last month, but performed exceptionally well to earn a recall to the national squad.
"Taking into account my unpredictable international career and my performances in domestic cricket for the past five to six years I consider it a big achievement to be selected once again," he said. "This selection is just another challenge for me. I will not stop here but I will try to make use of this opportunity to extend my international career."
de Saram was called up for the tournament in England after some outstanding performances for Ruhuna in the Inter-Provincial Twenty20 tournament. He was the joint leading batsman in the competition with 254 runs at an average of 50.80 and a strike-rate of 139.56. He has also hit the most number of sixes (12) and fours (18) in the tournament with a top score of 94.
"I don't reserve six-hitting shots only for limited overs or Twenty20 cricket. If the ball is pitched in the right area for the shot I will play it regardless of the type of cricket I am playing," he said. "Whether it is a shorter version or the longer version makes no difference to me. It could even be the first ball I faced.
"From the time I played junior cricket I had this knack for hitting sixes, not just to clear the boundary but ones that go long distances. It is something that came to me naturally; maybe it had something to do with my physique."
A hard hitter of the ball, de Saram doesn't believe its all about thrashing. "Twenty20 does not mean that you have to start hitting right from the first ball. You have to select the loose balls to hit which is a must. If you miss out on the loose balls then you lose out."
de Saram made his debut for Sri Lanka at home against the Australians in 1999. However, he was in the sidelines for nearly eight years before he was recalled for the Twenty20 international against India this February. "We have a good chance of winning the ICC World Twenty20 if Sanath [Jayasuriya] and [Tillakaratne] Dilshan continue the form they are displaying at the IPL. I don't know what role I will be called upon to play in the team but whatever opportunities that come my way I am prepared to take it and do well."