Chaminda Vaas: ‘India will definitely reach the semifinals’

“India has been dominating in the last two-three years. They (also) have good back-up fast bowlers. They will do wonders. Indian team is very balanced. They will do well,” Vaas, the former Sri Lanka skipper, said.

Chaminda Vaas believes Sri Lanka's World Cup squad lacks experience.   -  Shayan Acharya

 

Former Sri Lanka captain Chaminda Vaas believes India will ‘definitely’ reach the semifinals of the World Cup, which begins in England from May 30.

“India has been dominating in the last two-three years. They (also) have good back-up fast bowlers. They will do wonders. Indian team is very balanced. They will do well. My prediction is, India will definitely reach the semifinals,” Vaas, who was in Mumbai for a local tournament, said on Tuesday.

The former pace ace admitted that the World Cup-bound Sri Lanka team lacks experience. The Lankan selectors named Dimuth Karunaratne — who hasn’t played ODIs since 2015 — as the skipper. “Well, it is very difficult to say anything about it because for the past six months we (Sri Lanka) have been selecting captains and the captains haven’t given anything to the team,” he said.

“We lack experience and performance in the middle but I am pretty sure that people have so many things but the selectors and the Sri Lanka cricket has trusted Dimuth and given (him an opportunity) to captain the side and I’m pretty sure that the team will unite and they will do well in the upcoming World Cup,” the 45-year-old said.

“There is no doubt that he (Lasith Malinga) is one of the best in the world and the best in Sri Lanka. We depend on him as a bowler and he showed his leadership qualities. He has given 100 per cent for the team and we have seen him playing in Mumbai (one day) and playing in Sri Lanka the next day. It shows the commitment he has and the commitment he has given to the team and the country. He will be the key for Sri Lanka cricket in the upcoming World Cup.” — Chaminda Vaas

Talking about skipper Karunaratne, he added: “There are certain expectations from the team, expectations from players. I am sure the selectors have identified it and they have gone for Dimuth. He has been playing Test cricket, has done wonders in the Test series against South Africa. They have faith in him and I am pretty sure they will do well in England.”

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Until recently, Lasith Malinga was the leader of the team in the limited-overs. Success, though, eluded him.

Vaas, however, admitted that the speedster is still an asset for the team. “There is no doubt that he is one of the best in the world and the best in Sri Lanka. We depend on him as a bowler and he showed his leadership qualities. He has given 100 per cent for the team and we have seen him playing in Mumbai (one day) and playing in Sri Lanka the next day. It shows the commitment he has and the commitment he has given to the team and the country. He will be the key for Sri Lanka cricket in the upcoming World Cup,” Vaas, who featured in 322 Tests and 111 ODIs for Sri Lanka, said.

He opined that the vastly experienced Dinesh Chandimal should have been in the squad. “Chandi performed well during the England series in Sri Lanka and I thought he should have been in the side,” Vaas said, making it clear that the players need to be given a longer rope.

“We have talents and we need to give them opportunity to play longer rather than giving them one or two games and then putting them out. Players need some time to perform well,” he said.

Where lies the problem?

Vaas, who has been a bowling coach in the past, took a dig at the selectors. “In Sri Lanka, the biggest problem is, selectors keep changing. There is no such selection policies. Once they have a policy, it is easy to build the team. That’s the biggest problem we face but ultimately the players get caught up and they are suffering. You need to show faith,” the former skipper said.