Skipper admits home advantage
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene admits home conditions and a "fanatic" crowd support will hand Sri Lanka an edge at the World Twenty20.
Last Updated: 10/09/12 1:57pm
Skipper Mahela Jayawardene admits home conditions and a "fanatic" crowd support will hand Sri Lanka an edge at the ICC World Twenty20.
The hosts are trying to buck the trend of losing semi-finals and finals in high-profile tournaments, having lost a 50-over World Cup semi-final in 2007 and the final in 2011 plus the World Twenty20 final in 2009.
Sri Lanka open the 12-team competition against Zimbabwe on September 18 and Jayawardene believes home support will help.
He said: "Obviously we have a slight advantage in little bit of the conditions as well as the crowd being behind us.
"We'll definitely enjoy some fanatic fans behind us."
Jayawardene confirmed prolific batsman Kumar Sangakkara and seam bowler Nuwan Kulasekara are recovering well from injuries sustained during the home one-day international series against India in July.
"Kumar is getting along well. I think he's been batting day and night getting extra net sessions (as) he has lost a few in the past few weeks. Kumar is like that," Jayawardene said.
"Nuwan has been bowling 80 to 90 per cent in the last week or so. Next week we'll push him a bit more with the fielding and all that. He should be OK with his groin injury."
Jayawardene was excited about the two uncapped players in his squad, especially 18-year-old off spinner Akila Dhananjaya, who has been selected to play international cricket straight out of school with no first-class experience.
"He is a work in progress. We were also surprised the way he bowled in SLPL (Sri Lanka Premier League)," Jayawardene said.
"He showed a lot of maturity for a guy who has not played any first-class cricket, just played school cricket. I am sure he can handle himself in this league."