Sunday, January 28, 2007

Mahela Jayawardene with His Thoughts on Coming ICC Cricket World Cup 2007

Mahela Jayawardene, the captain of Sri Lankan cricket team is now preparing for the coming world cup cricket 2007. As a captain this would be the first world cup for this excellent batsman and good slip fielder. Though he has given captaincy just a year ago, there is no chance to make question about his cricketing talent and experience. After his bad performance in the last world cup in 2003, he was dropped from the team but with his potential and talent he regained his place at the team has showed some of his master performance which followed getting the captaincy. Recently he has talked about his next mission in India just before the ICC Cricket World Cup West Indies 2007. In the interview he also talked about the world cup squad. The Sunday Times Online reported:

Q: What do you expect from this short tour of India?
A: It is always a challenge to play in India which is tough place to play cricket. We have not fared very well lately in India and I think this offers us a good opportunity to put the record straight.

Q: With the World Cup only a few weeks away, will you be using these four ODI’s to try out things?
A: Yes, we will try a few things in India, but not too many things. We have a balanced side going into India so we have are options open.

Q: Any idea of the type of wickets that will be on offer in West Indies for the World Cup?
A: Tom Moody visited the Caribbean earlier this month and he says that most of the wickets have been laid ahead of the world cup and there are also two or three new venues. So they are going to offer some seam movement as they will be fresh. However it will not be those bouncy type of wickets that West Indies had 10-15 years ago, but there will be some pace on it. Domestic matches played on these tracks have indicated that they are not slow and low.

Q: Are we now settled with our openers and the batting?
A: Sanath and Upul have got us off to some great starts. They complement each other very well. Then my presence at No. 3 is mainly to make the best use of the power plays. But we also have the option of having Marvan who is an opening batsman at number three, something we tried in New Zealand and it worked for us, in which case I will drop to number five. Then Sangakkara comes in at number four and we also have a few inform batsmen coming into the side, so the batting is fairly settled.

Q: Are you comfortable with Marvan batting at number five?
A: Marvan will be used in the middle to consolidate an innings. He is experienced and knows what to do when he bats in the middle. He tackles the slow bowlers very well and rotates the strike constantly. In fact he batted at number five before the injury so that is not an issue.

Q: What about our bowling attack, the medium pacers?
A: After a long time we have got a very attacking unit that can bowl out a side inside the 50 overs which I think is really great. Lasith Malinga has brought in something new to the table, Vaas as always is bowling extremely well, then we have Maharoof who has worked very hard and is now taking wickets. In addition we also have Dilhara who is very aggressive, then Zoysa, Kulasekera and Ruchira are also in the squad.

Q: Do you think we will need a fourth medium pacer in addition to Vaas, Malinga and Maharoof?
A: Obviously, it will depend on the surface that we are playing on. For instance in the last game against New Zealand we went in with four medium pacers and they did the job for us. But if the wicket is conducive to spin we will not need a fourth seamer, instead we can rely on a spinner like Malinga Bandara or Dilshan or Arnold if they are playing to support Murali and Jayasuriya.

Q: You opted to rest Murali and Vaas, what about Lasith Malinga?
A: We will definitely not play him in all games, maybe one or two games only. We are aware that we have to manage him and keep him going. He is young, has a lot of energy and he likes to play every game-but that is definitely not the ideal situation for us.

Q: Captaincy is something that has been thrust on you suddenly. How do you feel to be captaining your country in a World Cup?
A: It has been a ride for me since the last two years or so. From a situation of not being fit enough to be a vice captain not so long ago, here I am captaining Sri Lanka and in a World Cup.

Q: Did you expect it?
A: No. It was totally unexpected. I never thought of captaining after being removed from the vice captaincy. I was only doing a job as Captain until Marvan was fit and ready. But after having a chat with Marvan and the Selectors they wanted me to carry on with the captaincy.

Mahela is an experienced player and a good leader as well. He has the capability to lead Sri Lanka to their second world cup success. However, the pragmatic situation is that Sri Lanka’s recent performance is not that good to bet on Sri Lanka in World Cup. Nevertheless, as the team has both experienced and young players; Sri Lanka is, for sure, a balanced team.