Sri Lanka go into the ICC World Women's World Twenty20 under a new captain, with Chamari Polgampola taking over the reins from the long-serving Shashikala Siriwardene. She feels the tournament can be a launchpad for the team's future successes.
"The Sri Lanka captaincy is not what I expected to get, but having got it does not surprise me. I'll do my best in my capacity as captain. I am confident that with this team I can take Sri Lankan cricket forward by performing well in the World Twenty20," Polgampola said.
Polgampola made her international debut in 2004, and some of her best performances came in the Asia Cup in 2005-06, against West Indies last year and in the Afro-Asia tournament. "My best performance was against West Indies, when Dedunu Silva and I shared an opening partnership of 119 at Dambulla. It's something I cannot forget because of the way we dominated the West Indies bowlers," she said.
The team is without three experienced players - Shashikala, Dedunu and Suwini - who have been left out on disciplinary grounds. Polgampola says they are "easily the best" cricketers in the national team but is bullish on the team's prospects even without them.
"These three being in the team would have been a tremendous boost but I am confident their replacements will fill their shoes. Our main aim is to beat Pakistan in the World Twenty20 and take revenge for our defeat in the World Cup. It's good that we are meeting them in our first match," she said.
Polgampola, a 28-year old left-handed opener and right-arm medium-pacer, is confident that her team would adapt to Twenty20 cricket better than the one-day version, though actual match practice has been limited. "I am confident that with this team we can perform better in the short version than in the longer one. We have not played Twenty20 internationals before; in our lead-up to the World Twenty20 we have been playing practice matches against under-15 boys' teams but we don't have any other experience in Twenty20 cricket. We have learnt a lot about how to approach Twenty20 cricket from these practice games. We hope to make full use of that experience."
Born in Warakapola, Polgampola developed an interest in cricket when she received coaching in softball. She then shifted sports and went on to represent Slimline Cricket Club, before breaking into the national team.