Member of the 1996 World Cup winning team, Chaminda Vaas believes with “team spirit”, Sri Lanka will do well going in the marquee event, beginning May 30. “Sri Lanka is an unpredictable team. They need to be united, and there are special cricketers who can perform extremely well there (in England). If they have the team spirit, unity amongst the team, I think Sri Lanka will do well in the World Cup,” ICC quoted Vaas, as saying.
The 45-year-old, who featured in 322 ODIs and picked up 400 wickets, is part of Sri Lanka’s coaching set-up. Vaas called on the players to take responsibility, overcome recent ODI struggles and prove their capabilities at the World Cup, which is scheduled to be held in England. “I played for 20 years and enjoyed my game and as a coach, I’m enjoying what I’m doing for the youngsters. I tell young fast bowlers, ‘Do not take short cuts, give 100 percent, focus on fitness, focus on endurance stuff and bend your back and bowl. Don’t keep it for the next game, what you can do today, do it. Do it for your country, remember where you come, don’t give excuses, make sure you are humble and when people try to criticise, you take it in the right way,” Vaas said.
Vaas played a vital role in Sri Lanka’s 1996 campaign and since then the team has reached two finals in 2007 and 2011. Emphasising the impact that a successful campaign can have on the country, he said: “We knew if we won the World Cup it was going to be a huge factor for Sri Lankan cricket. When we won it and brought the trophy back to Sri Lanka, we realised we had done something for the country and it’s huge. After 1996 until now, we have got to finals and semi-finals, and when it comes to important games such as the World Cup, our guys have done really well.”
“It is now time for young guys to take the initiative to perform well and I am sure when given the chance they will grab it from both ends and perform well for Sri Lanka,” he said. Ranked at eighth, Sri Lanka will play against South Africa and Australia in their warm-ups, before opening their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on June 1 at Cardiff Wales Stadium.