Eagerly awaiting his fifth World Cup

by Rex Clementine

Only a handful of players have had the privilege of playing in five World Cups. Aravinda de Silva was the first Sri Lankan to play in five World Cup tournaments and Sanath Jayasuriya will become the second when he plays in the up coming World Cup. The two players have been the greatest batsmen the country has produced since gaining Test status and consistency has been the secret of their longevity. Although you have a few players who have had the opportunity of playing in five World Cups, those who have gone onto win the championship are few and both Aravinda and Sanath have had the fortune to be vital members of Sri Lanka’s World Cup winning side in 1996.

They captained the country in the greatest competition in the sport as well with Aravinda leading the side in the 1992 edition of the tournament, which was Jayasuriya’s first and 11 years later Aravinda played his last CWC under Jayasuriya in Southern Africa in 2003.

Jayasuriya looked back at the five editions of the competition with fond memories.

“I have been fortunate to be around for so long,” he started off.

“I remember playing my first World Cup in New Zealand-Australia and I never thought that I would go onto play five World Cups. I have had some sweet memories in World Cup as we went onto win in 1996. There were some good sides in that competition and the way we did it was pleasing,” Jayasuriya told ‘Sportstar’

“It was a fantastic team effort in 1996. I had a role to play and I did that to the best of my ability. We had a strong batting line up and our bowling was ideal for those conditions. We were brilliant in field too and pulled off some great catches and run outs and when you perform as good as that you can win consistently.” Jayasuriya said.

While a lot of people talk of Jayasuriya’s sensational batting in 1996, they forget the fact that his left arm spin played a crucial role as well, especially in the semi-final and the final.

It’s often forgotten the way Jayasuriya captained the side in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

He was appointed in 1999 after a dismal show in England and was put in charge to build up a team towards the next edition of the tournament and players like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Russel Arnold had cemented their places by the time the 2003 World Cup came.

He started off the campaign in fine fashion thrashing a hundred in Sri Lanka’s first game against New Zealand in Bloemfontein and had a successful competition along with deputy Marvan Atapattu. Despite Sri Lanka qualifying to the semi-finals in 2003, some gloss was taken out as they had been beaten by Kenya in Nairobi in a group game.

During that competition three batsmen were going through bad trots and if not for that the team could have done better and gone even further.

While the 1992 World Cup was the start for Jayasuriya, where he played as an all-rounder who batted in the middle order and bowled a lot, but he was known for a couple of breathtaking catches that he took. The 1996 edition of the competition was ‘Jayasuriya’s tournament’ as he changed the way teams approached the first 15 overs. He had a tough series in 1999 but bounced back in 2003 with some match winning efforts. What awaits Jayasuriya in 2007?

“We did well in one-day cricket last year winning away from home, which was something that we wanted to do consistently. If we continue in that form, we should do well. My form has been good too as I scored five hundreds out of Sri Lanka and we won all those matches. So hopefully, I’ll be able take that form into the World Cup and help the team to come up with a good show,” Jayasuriya said.

Sri Lanka are one of the frontrunners to go all the way in the upcoming World Cup in the Caribbean and Jayasuriya’s form will be vital in the West Indies. via … The Sunday Island

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Posted on February 11, 2007, in Sri Lanka and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Eagerly awaiting his fifth World Cup.

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