Mixed feelings for a World Cup great | Daily News


Mixed feelings for a World Cup great

Former Indian great Sunil Gavaskar, one of the international commentators at the World Cup had said prior to the tournament that there were two batsmen who could win a cricket contest for their teams no matter how hopeless the situation was.

He declared that one was Pakistan’s Javed Miandad and the other was Arjuna Ranatunga.

It was time for Ranatunga, the experienced campaigner to live up to those expectations and his strategies were commended by many cricketing greats and followed by other teams. Captain Cool, as he was called, played for the team and country.

His vision was to play for the country and not for money. He came forward to defend his players and the best example was when he strongly stood up to defend Muralidran over a chucking issue at the Adelaide Oval against England in 1999.

He wanted to serve cricket without any controversies and it paid off when his team lifted the World Cup in 1996.

Ranatunga was regarded as the only captain who could have raised a team from underdog status to champion glory and his exploits are still unmatched to this day and age.

“The cricket World Cup is the flagship tournament in the calendar and all players need to be in the right frame of mind to contest it,” Ranatunga said in an interview with the Sunday Observer.

“But personally I couldn’t be satisfied with this squad because some senior players like Dinesh Chandimal were not included. There are several new comers to the World Cup who get the opportunity to take part in this tournament. But it is also very important to have senior players like Chandimal,” added Ranatunga.

“We should have selected a very strong squad for this World Cup and the players have to be the ones with the stamina and ability to play the full quota of 50 overs.

“But anyway we have to wish all the selected players the very best for this major tournament.”

Ranatunga said the most worrying factor for the Sri Lankan team would be to adjust to the conditions in England well before the matches start.

“Apart from all the negatives, the team has to take up the challenges and move forward once the World Cup begins and by going there ahead the players should be able to make the adjustments needed,” said Ranatunga.

He contends that Sri Lanka needs to win six matches or a minimum of five to be assured of a place in the semi-finals at the conclusion of the first round of games when all ten teams in the fray must play a total of nine matches to qualify.

“It is going to be the biggest challenge for the players and I can only wish that they bring some honour to the country,” Ranatunga summed up.

Ranatunga and the same team that won the 1996 World Cup defended the title in England in 1999 without success finishing with just two wins over Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Australia won the final when they beat Pakistan in a low scoring contest.

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