Sri Lanka cannot take Canada lightly (Preview)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

HAMBANTOTA - Sri Lanka, Cricket World Cup finalists four years ago, will not take Canada lightly when they open their campaign in the 2011 edition at the newly-built Mahinda Rajapaksa International Cricket Stadium here Sunday.

The Group A clash may look one-sided on paper as joint-hosts Sri Lanka are one of the favourites to win the tournament.

But Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara has vowed not to take the North Americans lightly and said the 1996 World Cup champions need to play well.

Sangakkara believes that Canada have the ability to spring a surprise. The Canadians gave England a fright before losing the warm-up match by 16 runs.

The Sri Lankan captain also knows the importance of a winning start in a tough group that has defending champions Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Kenya.

Sri Lanka will be fielding a full-strength team though they will be without middle-order batsman Chamara Silva, who lost his elder sister.

Sangakkara admitted that personal tragedies affecting Silva and team manager Anura Tennekoon, who lost his father, has come at a wrong time for the team.

“It’s been a tough few days for us as Silva and then Tennekoon both had losses in their family,” said Sangakkara.

“We feel very much for them and at the same time these things bring us closer together. We just need to concentrate on playing good cricket because they will be wanting us to do well,” he added.

The Canadians, however, have a statement to make. With the number of teams reduced for the 2015 World Cup, to increase competitiveness, the Canadians have to prove that they are no pushovers. Tough task for them and they will be looking up to John Davison, who is eyeing a grand farewell from international cricket after the World Cup.

The 40-year-old, the tournament’s oldest player, smashed a century off 67 balls in the 2003 World Cup against the West Indies — the fastest then before Australia opener Matthew Hayden broke it in the Caribbeans.

Who knows, an inspiring knock from Davison can work wonders for Canada.


Sri Lanka: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedera, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath. Coach: Travor Bayliss (Australia)

Canada: Ashish Bagai (captain), Rizwan Cheema, Harvir Baidwan, Nitish Kumar, Hiral Patel, Tyson Gordon, Henry Osinde, John Davison, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Parth Desai, Karl Whatham, Khurram Chohan, Jimmy Hansra, Zubin Surkari, Balaji Rao. Coach: Pubudu Dassanayake (Sri Lanka)

Umpires: Ian Gould (England) and Shavir Tarapore (India)

Third Umpire: Tony Hill (New Zealand)

Fourth umpire: Daryl Harper (Australia)

Match referee: Chris Broad (England)

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