Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
“Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing together”
Former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has expressed his jubilation towards the national team’s victory at the World Twenty20.
Sri Lanka defeated India by six wickets in the final to win their maiden World Twenty20 trophy.
“If you look at the tournament, a lot of contributions were made by new players – young players,” Ranatunga, who led Sri Lanka to victory in the 1996 World Cup, told Inside Sports. “We should talk about Mahela, and Kumar Sangakkara, as well as Lasith Malinga, who bowled very well, but I feel that every player made a special contribution – not just a minor one.
“Normally there are heroes in these tournaments, but what I saw was that young players and seniors were all contributing together. That’s a great sign for the future of Sri Lanka cricket, when these young players are performing at that level.
“There are players who hadn’t shone out, like Kulasekara, Sachithra Senanayake, Kusal Perera and Rangana Herath. Sachithra bowled well throughout the tournament and Kulasekara delivered in difficult moments.
“Rangana hadn’t played throughout the tournament, but from the moment he came, he was taking wickets and keeping the runs down. Kusal took the pressure off Sangakkara, Dilshan and Mahela, and put it on his own shoulders. He played the same role as Sanath Jayasuriya used to play. Sometimes it seemed like he played bad shots, but that’s his style.
“The other thing you have to say is that our fielding was extremely good – better than the other teams.”
Ranatunga also lauded Dinesh Chandimal’s decision to relinquish the captaincy in the semi-final and final of the tournament.
“Even though he was not in good form, Sri Lanka has done well, and protected their No. 1 ranking, while he was captain,” Ranatunga said. “No one has the right to leave out a captain, and if Chandimal was able to sacrifice his place to protect a winning combination, I think he deserves a lot of praise in this win. It’s a great example to other cricketers.”
The 50-year-old added that Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene timed their decision to retire from Twenty20 Internationals to perfection.
“The cricketers are the ones who know better than anyone, when the right time is to go,” he said. “In the past we’ve seen that T20 is a young man’s game. I’m sure they’ve made the correct decision.”