Ranatunga who is more popularly known as ‘Captain Cool’ and captained the team when it won the 1996 World Cup, told journalists here that the country’s national squad had now improved but it needed two strong all rounders and fast bowlers.
He said that the team needed to adapt a similar tactic which his team adapted in 1996 and needed a strong batting and bowling line up in the first 15 overs of the game.
Ranatunga further commended the team for winning the recent test series against Australia calling it a ‘brilliant achievement’ and said that the team now needed to show a firm commitment.
Sri Lanka recently thrashed Australia by winning all three test series which was played in capital Colombo. The three comfortable victories came after Sri Lanka had only beaten Australia once in 33 years before this tour.
“Its a huge achievement beating Australia in a 3 test series. Even during our times we could not even win a test match. Credit should go to Angelo (captain) and the team,” Ranatunga who is now the Minister of Ports and Shipping said.
“But we have to go out and see how the team perform. Especially in South Africa. Overall I feel we need to give more time for the youngsters,” he added.
Ranatunga further blamed the existing cricket administration for wasting funds on ‘unwanted publicity’ and said that such funds should be used to promote school level cricket.
He further said that more youngsters need to be trained to make it to the national squad in order to have a strong team in the future.
“After 1996 we bought in some young cricketers like Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Thillekeratne Dilshan and Russel Arnold and we shifted the batting order,” he explained.
“We all felt that if the youngsters can be cushioned in between us they will be free to play their normal cricket. But unfortunately the selection and criteria we had was Dilshan batting at opening followed by Sangakkara and Mahela. They never changed their positions. That’s where we could not build our team.”
Sri Lanka Cricket had been facing severe losses during the former government and the sport was plagued by political interference.
Sri Lanka have won the Cricket World Cup in 1996, the ICC Champions Trophy in 2002 (co-champions with India), and have won theICC World Twenty20 championship in 2014. They have been consecutive runners up in the 2007 and 2011 Cricket World Cups, and have been runners up in the ICC World Twenty20 in 2009 and 2012.
The Sri Lankan cricket team currently holds several world records, including the world records for highest team totals in all three forms of the game, Test, One Day Internationals and Twenty20.