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Jan 9, 2011

'Hard decision to omit Jayasuriya, Vaas' - De Silva

 Aravinda de Silva, Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors, has said the exclusion of veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas from the final squad was taken after looking at all options to select the best possible 15 for the World Cup.

"We were not going to waver from that and looking at individuals as such because we wanted the best team to ultimately go out there and represent the 20 million people in Sri Lanka," De Silva said yesterday. "That was the only reason why they were left out. Unfortunately not only them but it was a very hard decision and emotional thing for the four selectors also to leave out two great cricketers like that as they would have been looking forward to saying goodbye after a World Cup. But that's how life is. To be fair by everyone, those two cricketers have done so much for Sri Lanka cricket and we can never forget that."

De Silva said that it was entirely up to the two players to decide whether they wanted to continue playing. "I guess they have got a great future ahead to contribute towards Sri Lanka cricket and I hope they will do so. Through their experiences I am sure they will come back and help Sri Lanka cricket in the future. But if they want to continue playing they are most welcome to do so. I am not the one to decide when they are going to finish their careers."

"At the same time, Suraj Randiv has not done anything wrong to be out of the squad but it was unfortunate because he didn't fit into the combinations which we needed in the 15. Those are the three guys whom I really feel for at this moment."

Vaas however has a thin chance of playing in the World Cup if there happens to be an injury to Nuwan Kulasekera. "We consider Vaas as a new ball bowler but with Lasith Malinga and Kulasekera there he can only come as first change. When he does that he doesn't have the same effect as when he bowls with the new ball. Vaas had direct competition with Kulasekera. If Kulasekera gets injured we will have to consider someone like Vaas because he is the next best new-ball bowler in Sri Lanka. If we are playing Vaas we must have the maximum advantage of using him as a new ball bowler. The way Kulasekera has performed in the past one to one-and-a-half years, it is difficult to keep him out."

Dilhara Fernando was selected as a back-up bowler for Lasith Malinga, De Silva said. "What we have to understand is why we pick certain players and what we expect of them. Dilhara is a guy whom everyone might feel goes for runs on most occasions and sometimes bowls no-balls when he loses rhythm. But ultimately what we expect of him is to be a strike bowler and to replace someone like Lasith. In case of an emergency we need someone in the squad if Lasith doesn't play. Dilhara has got that extra bit of pace to hurry a batsman and with a bit of life and bounce on a wicket we would opt for him in the final XI."

On left-arm spinner Rangana Herath's inclusion, De Silva said, "We got two offspinners (Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis) and with Randiv we would have had three. The combination we were looking at was three spinners and we wanted some variation in the spin attack. We thought the best left-arm spinner in the country is Rangana so we had to opt for him. He's played only nine ODIs but we felt he is the best left-armer we got so we had to go with a bowler whom we can depend on."

Mahela Jayawardene, who has fared well as an opener whenever he has been given the opportunity, would be the third opener in the side after the regular pair of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Upul Tharanga.
"We decided to go with Mahela in case we required a third opener because we are playing only eight games and we don't want to bring in an extra player and upset the combination of the squad," said De Silva. "If it comes to a real push we will have to look at someone like Mahela at that stage or maybe someone else who is batting way down the order as an experiment."

De Silva said that they picked the squad very early (the ICC deadline is January 19) in order to give the selected players the opportunity of playing in the inter-provincial limited-overs tournament which starts on January 11. "That's a tournament which I want the players to be relaxed and enjoy playing some cricket with free minds."

De Silva also stated that he hopes to give maximum exposure to the selected World Cup squad of 15 during the upcoming three-match one-day series against West Indies. The matches are due to be played on January 31, February 4 and 6 at venues yet to be finalized. 

Source - Cricinfo

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