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Looking Forward To Australia

Sep 18, 2010 3:16:14 PM - thesundayleader.lk

The count down to the World Cup has begun. The warm up games have been scheduled and Sri Lanka takes on the Australians on their home soil. This is an excellent test for our lads.  It would be nice for the Sri Lankans to do well on Aussie soil which also  would be a major psychological boost for them. My question is whether Murali would play in this tournament. I believe he would and indeed should play in front of his fans in Australia. This perhaps would be his last official tour to that country should he decide to make the team, and what better way would be there to bid farewell to his Australian fans. Recall, we did make such a tour to Australia before the 1996 World Cup. It stood us in good stead.
This tour should ideally see our batting line up firmed. We need to get a steady one to six organised for the final push. It is good to have permanancy, believe me it does shore up confidence. The top and the middle have a great opportunity against one of the best teams around to build their confidence.
This tour is also a great forerunner to the one against the West Indies. This brings into focus as to where the Cricket Board would like Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas to be. We have five months to go before the World Cup. At which point in time would the selectors say enough or even otherwise to these two players. It is not fair by both these players and also those younger players who would occupy these slots to be kept in suspense any longer. Consider, if a younger player or two does not do too well against the Australians and is dropped in favour of these two experienced hands in the games to follow with the West Indians? Wouldn’t the selectors be in a quandary if they do reasonably well? Would they play them in the World Cup? I feel it would be patently unfair on the younger players to match their performances against the Aussies to that against the Windies. The West Indians have fielded weaker contingents in the warm ups and this could very well be repeated. One should not take the eye off as the build up to the World Cup is now on.
As for the Champions League, less said the better. The Wayamba Team has not done well and as a result there is no enthusiasm here. Infact the stands looked empty during the games and has been a disappointment. It is no match with the IPL. On another note Malinga Bandara is doing very well in the County circuit for Kent. In my opinion our lads who get into the County circuit should be promoting other Sri Lankan players too. The Indians and Pakistanis do this very well. This will help Sri Lankan cricketers to tighten up their game.
The few who have made it have done well and there is no reason to believe that others if helped by those who get there will not equip themselves equally or if not better. This was also a good move by Malinga Bandara to get as much cricket at this level since he is not guaranteed a permanent slot in the national team.
Andrew Flintoff bid farewell to competitive cricket. He will be remembered for his contribution to the game not just by his countrymen but by the larger cricketing fraternity. Flintoff is best remembered for his decisive efforts when England won the Ashes in 2005. Flintoff could bat as good as any in the middle  and also bowl at 90 miles an hour. Not many around at the time he played could do that with distinction. Murali played alongside Flintoff and has only kind words to say about him. Besides his cricketing prowess Murali confides that Andrew is a perfect gentleman. Probably one of the best all rounders in recent times and  he will be missed. On another note it is disconcerting to hear varying statements being made by different officials of Sri Lanka Cricket to the media in relation to recent controversies concerning Sri Lankan players. It is upto Sri Lanka Cricket to clear the air and this should be done by a senior member of the Board once and for all. If a player needs to be disciplined for being out of step such action should be swift and firm. There is no time to spare with the World Cup a few months away. Our cricketers should be focused and clear of mind in the months ahead.