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Ashes Turn Hot

Dec 25, 2010 2:27:16 PM - thesundayleader.lk

Sri Lankan Cricket has named the 30 World Cup players and there is no quarrel with that. They are the best amongst those available for ODIs.
Obviously the presence of Sanath and Vaassy would be a talking point. I see no problems with them being in the 30, but if they are to make it into the final 15 is another matter.
I do not mean that they do not deserve to be in with the final lot if they do perform in the domestic tournament. But I do worry about their presence in the dressing room with the youngsters. It’s their call if they do make it, to blend with the younger players and make them comfortable. Mind you, Sanath and to a lesser extent Vaassy are not the same people they were in a dressing room say, in the year 2000. It would be upto them to make that change. I am certain they are aware of that too.
Sri Lanka has a fantastic opportunity in making a more than good impression at this World Cup. They have been blessed with another bonus in that the aborted West Indies ODI series will now be played that much closer to the World Cup. The visitors in this instance too will benefit as much. It is up to the management, coaches, and the clubs to handle the fast bowlers with due diligence during the domestic tournament.
The batsmen should be alright but the fast men should not break down nor exhaust themselves so near the big one. Play them only in those games that are necessary and towards this end, the Sri Lanka team management will do well to be in touch with the clubs.
What a come back it was by the Aussies to clinch one back and be in contention for the Ashes. It was a great effort by a bowler who was not favoured to step up with six wickets to bring victory to a team that had very nearly forgotten how to win. Teams do get carried away and in this instance the Englishmen did when they encountered a fast and bouncy wicket in Perth. Trying too hard to extract more than what was necessary, the English bowlers erred. They bowled too short. The need to stick to basics was all that was required.
There is no gainsaying that with a number 5 batting as well as he did for the Australians it was only a requirement for others to chip in to make a come back. Hussey is in perfect nick and the Boxing Day test in Melbourne should see him continue his trot. Whatever happens at Melbourne the Aussies go to Sydney without a good spinner. The Englishmen have Swann and a win at Melbourne would tip the scales in their favour when they go to Sydney.
We did see the South Africans put it together, backed by a plan which worked for them against the Indians. They skittled the Indians on a fast track, loaded 600 plus and though the master did score it was too late for the Indians to save the game.
Matches are more often than not won on a first innings score. I doff my hat to Sachin who has continued to perform and entertain for well over 20 years and yet not showing a hint of letting up. It shows grit, character and of course class within the master, to be able to do that over a sustained period. Now it’s almost certain that he would be playing in some ODIs leading to the World Cup.
He will know when his body would need rest to keep performing at peak.  He will call the shots on that score. The next game would take the Indians to a fast track at Kingsmead in Durban where the Proteas would be expected to stick to the same game plan. Plenty of cricket during this season of good cheer and my best wishes go out to everyone.