Away from the flash bulbs and the hype,Wayamba XI,easily the least talked about team in the inaugural Champions League T20,have trotted into the Capital keeping to themselves even as a Mahela Jayawardene or an Ajantha Mendis peek out of the bunch. Irrespective of this apparent low profile though,expect Wayamba to give all teams in fray a run for their money.
With eleven Sri Lankan internationals threaded together,mostly all-rounders and crowding up the national line-up for all formats,theres an intrinsic competition too. Jehan Mubarak,Rangana Herath,Ishara Amerasinghe,Kaushal Lokuarachchi,Farveez Maharoof,Isuru Udana,Ajantha Mendis,Michael Vandort,Mahela Udawatte and Chanaka Welegedera have all donned the Lankan colours in different circumstances,while competing against each other and in different formats and the Champions League will be another platform for them to knock the doors again,all together.
Coach Manoj Abeywickrame remains silently confident and he doesn’t dislike the low-profile at all.
Most of the people around are talking about the other teams and we havent quite attracted the attention a bunch of eleven international players do. But thats another kind of a challenge for the boys, Manoj told Sportline,adding,I think most of the foreign teams arent aware of our line-up and thats because the boys havent been playing at the international level for a considerable amount of time. In a way,this may work to our advantage.
The coach,however,asserts the strength of his team with a mix of players who can be switched according to the situation.
The real strength of our team lies in the variety we have. We have all-rounders,genuine pacers,off-spinners and leg-spinners. So,if we need a change to the lower order depending on the wicket we are playing on,we have the option of going with two quality spinners as well as pacers. Amerasinghe is still one of the fastest in the country and Herath has been outstanding of late, Manoj said.
Despite being a Twenty20 tournament the coach feels good performances will merit places in the ODI and Test squads.
If a bowler does well in the four overs he gets here,he will only do better if he gets to bowl 10 overs. So theres no difference between the formats for a consistent player. All the boys have been in and out of the national team over the last few years and this tournament,involving top international players,will be a great opportunity for them to make their case stronger. The whole team will benefit from the resulting competition, the coach said.
As most players steal through to the team bus,skipper Jehan Mubarak comes forward to make the coachs point clearer. The left-hander admits the rising competition behind the friendly banter as Sri Lankan selector Vinodan John keeps an eye on the group of probables.
We dont really have the big names the other teams are having but most of us have played at some point for Sri Lanka across all formats. This is a big stage for us because all of us are looking to make a comeback and the whole world will be watching us play along with a few selectors. All of us are aware of the chance we have of cementing our places in the national team,doesnt matter which format. A good cricketer is good for all forms and Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara are the examples, the 28-year-old said,adding,At most,the other teams have seen two of us playing together and that means we are more or less an unknown quantity. This will be our strength but once we cross the line we have to show that. I hope well live up to our expectations.