Michael Tissera comments on Sri Lanka’s World Cup Prospects … and Anandappa looks back to 1975February 1, 2015
Former Sri Lanka cricket captain and administrator Michael Tissera is confident that the present lot of cricketers representing the country at the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand will be a force to be reckoned with once they get their act together. He said that the last ODI against New Zealand which the Lankans won, will boost the team’s confidence although losing the Test and ODI series. After a seven back- to-back ODI series against New Zealand, the Lankans will take on the Kiwis for the eighth consecutive time on February 14 in their real testing game in the World Cup opening match at the Hagley Park in Christchurch.
Speculation: “There were speculations over the combination of the Sri Lankan team. Specially as to who is going to open the innings with Dilshan. Thirimanne seems to be good. The Sri Lankans were sans their main strike bowler Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath. Subject to fitness if Malinga comes into the side it should be an added advantage to the side and will make a big difference With only the three seniors Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Tillekeratne Dilshan among the runs the middle order looks extremely brittle.
The Lankans will have to sort out this aspect of the batting. Skipper Angelo Mathews who is not at his best form along with Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera will have to bat with more determination if the side is to make much headway in the tournament,” Tissera said.
However, the big difference between the two sides is the determination of the New Zealand fielding. They dive at everything like rugby players and bring off spectacular catches and stops to save lot of runs. The Kiwis fielding can put tremendous pressure on the batsmen while running between the wickets. With rugby being their number one sport, it was quite apparent that most of the players are strong and ready to spring.
Lanka still to beat India in a Test in India: Michael Tissera was the first Sri Lankan Captain (then Ceylon) to record the first two unofficial Test wins against Pakistan in 1964 at the P. Sara Oval and thereafter India in India 1965.
Although Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan in Pakistan in 1995 under Arjuna Ranatunga in an official Test series (2-1) when Rameez Raja led the Pakistanis, they are still to beat India in an official Test series in India.
He further said that provided Sri Lanka gets the right combination they should win the February 14th game against New Zealand. The pitch preparations will also be a crucial factor in the first game, he added.
Tissera was a member of the first Sri Lanka World Cup cricket team when it was staged in England in 1975, June. The Championship was sponsored by Prudential Assurance and the tournament was named as the Prudential World Cup.
Lankans lose to Australia: Six Test teams – England, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and West Indies (full ICC members). Sri Lanka and East Africa (Associate members) participated. After losing badly to the mighty West Indians in the first game, Sri Lanka gave a spirited display against Australia. The matches were confined to 60 overs per side with players attired in white clothing and the ‘red’ ball in operation without protective gear. Sri Lanka was captained by Anura Tennekoon and the Aussies were led by Ian Chappell.
Australia batted first and scored 329 for 5 in their 60 overs. Sri Lanka in their run chase were cruising along till thunderbolts from Jeff Thomson struck opening Sunil Wettimuny (53) on his shin and Duleep Mendis (32) being hit on the head, both had to retire hurt. Tissera stood firm to strike an exquisite 52 in Sri Lanka final tally of 276 for 6 in their 60 overs.