Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 800 wickets in his Test career © Getty Images
Muttiah Muralitharan picked up 800 wickets in his Test career © Getty Images

Winners of the 1996 World Cup Arjuna Ranatunga, Aravinda de Silva and Muttiah Muralitharan are not particularly happy about the preparations of the Sri Lanka squad, which has been selected to represent their nation at the ICC World Cup 2015, which starts from February 14, co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand.

“If you analyze the side, I am not pretty sure whether we picked the right side and if you see some of the players were given very little chances and some were given more chances but I do not know whether we have the right combination,” said Ranatunga, according to thesundayleader.lk

Ranatunga was appreciated the act that Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) did the right thing by organising the tour to New Zealand but feels that the new comers did not have the impact that he hoped for in the latter part of the seven-match One-Day International (ODI) series.He also felt that Sri Lanka heavily rely on the likes of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

“We rely heavily on the Sanga, Mahela and Dilshan. If they get out early it is the end of the road for us. If you look at the bowling Malinga is injured and Herath doesn’t look comfortable with his fitness while most of the squad is struggling with confidence,” said Ranatunga.

“What we thrived on in ’96 was confidence. We imparted the confidence we had in players even if they weren’t doing well. Not sure if they are doing it any more. We have a talented bowling attack but their mindset is not there. Attitude is defense and not bowling aggressively to take wickets. For me we are not playing our brand of cricket. Those days we sit together and analyze. Aravinda, Roshan, Gura (Gurusinghe) took the batting, bowling was headed by Vaas and Promo (Promodya Wickremasinghe) as well as the youngsters where the biggest contribution came from,” added the former captain.

De Silva and Muralitharan struggled to comprehend the fact that the board had decided to drop Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera. De Silva termed it as ‘a very serious blunder’.

“We are playing too many all-rounders. We need to have proper bowlers, which we had in ’96 and the last three World Cups. If the side went through a bad patch to iron it out we increased the batters. Only as a cover we had all-rounders. If you look at the situation now bowlers change from one tournament to another which results in no confidence and lack of performance. The injury worries compounds the situation,” added Muralitharan.

De Silva also vouched for local coaches and said that their knowledge is much greater than that of the foreign coaches. “If you look at the local coaching knowledge it is far greater than most of the foreign coaches. We have some of the best but the issue is local coaches should be independent from politics, favourations. That pressure comes. And one other area we are lacking is psychology where we need to strengthen our minds and quickly recover from bad patches,” said de Silva.

Sri Lanka kick start their World Cup campaign against New Zealand on February 14 at Christchurch.