By Thomas Rooney
Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene has admitted that the conditions and crowd could play a big part in the Twenty20 World Cup later in the month and is hopeful that home advantage will help his side lift the trophy. The Sri Lankans have been the nearly men in big tournaments over recent years – losing in the 50-over World Cup semi-final in 2007 and then the final in 2009. This was followed up by finishing as runners-up in the T20 World Cup in 2009. Now though, Jayawardene believes that the team are good enough to go all the way and thinks that being on home soil is sure to play a massive part in delivering success.
He said: “Obviously we have a slight advantage in little bit of the conditions as well as the crowd being behind us. We'll definitely enjoy some fanatic fans behind us.” Kumar Sangakkara has been an injury doubt for the tournament, along with seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara, but Jayawardene believes that they will both be taking part in the competition. "Kumar is getting along well. I think he's been batting day and night getting extra net sessions (as) he has lost a few in the past few weeks. Kumar is like that," Jayawardene said. "Nuwan has been bowling 80 to 90 per cent in the last week or so. Next week we'll push him a bit more with the fielding and all that. He should be OK with his groin injury."
Sangakkara is a key figure in the Sri Lankan side and Jayawardene will know that he will need him in the team if they are to go far in this competition as his experience is vital. He is also someone the captain can turn to when things are not going right as the prolific batsman has also has captained the team in the past.
The host-nation get the World Cup underway on 18th September with a game against Zimbabwe in game that will be seen as a must win if they are to make the Super Eight stages of the tournament.
By Thomas Rooney