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The the men who will matter

If Sri Lanka is to succeed during this World Cup, the form of their captain is vital.

india Updated: Feb 01, 2003 01:26 IST

If Sri Lanka is to succeed during this World Cup, the form of their captain is vital. He was their most valued player in the 1996 tournament when he scored 82 in 44 balls against England in the quarterfinals, which allowed Sri Lanka to eventually go on and win the Cup.

The stocky left-handed opening batsman is rated by Price Waterhouse, as the best batsman in one-day cricket at present. Jayasuriya is a vastly experienced player with 287 matches and he is a savage destroyer of bowling attacks in any conditions anywhere in the world.

He is fast approaching 9,000 runs with an average of 32 but more importantly he has a high strike rate of nearly 90 runs per 100 balls faced.

He is very strong square of the wicket on the off side and he is not afraid to hit the ball in the air. When he is in form, the flicks on the leg side often go into the stands for six.

Having scored 15 hundreds and 52 fifties, his wicket is highly sought after and valued by the opposing teams because if he gets away, he will win a game with a brilliantly inspired performance.

On the recent tour of Australia, Jayasuriya struggled for early form that also coincided with Sri Lanka losing matches.

Then he scored two hundreds and a 99 and Sri Lanka looked more competitive, won some matches but they still failed to make the VB finals.

Jayasuriya is a highly effective all rounder. Not only is he a destructive batsman, but his left arm spinners have also won games for Sri Lanka.

He has captured 234 wickets with a best bowling performance of 6/39. He has six four wickets bags and three five wicket hauls. Batsmen should not under estimate his ability with the ball.

If one player is to set the tournament alight, Jayasuriya has the credentials to make a very big impact. (GE Features)

First Published: Jan 31, 2003 23:59 IST