ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: ‘The Dream Started That Day’ – Karunaratne Recalls 1996 World Cup Win
Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne says the individuals from Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup-winning squad still fill in as a motivation for the present squad as they gear up for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019.
“I remember the game and watching with all our family and friends. I recall we had a very, very small television, so I had a pocket radio with me so I could listen all the commentary and not miss anything,” said Karunaratne.
“It was a very special time for Sri Lanka as a country, I just remember how excited all my friends were and how it inspired me to play cricket. The dream for me started that day.
“Those players are still an inspiration to everyone in Sri Lanka and the lesson we take now is how they played as a team and worked for each other.”
Angelo Mathews, the man who Karunaratne replaced as skipper, believes winning the competition back then changed everything for Sri Lankan cricket.
“We are very grateful to that team and we are who we are today because of them. I was a bit too young to remember the match in too much detail, I just remember how proud everyone was, who would have thought Sri Lanka could become world champions.
“That team made such an impact to the sport in our country. It changed the entire set-up overnight, every kid wanted to be a cricketer. People were always talking about cricket after that.”
‘We Had Bigger Names in Previous Years’
The current Sri Lanka side is a mix of involvement and youth yet their development to the competition has not been simple and repeating the accomplishments of 1996 will be an extreme assignment.
Veteran pacer Lasith Malinga, who will be expected to lead the bowling assault, conceded that past Sri Lanka sides have had more star power however praised the present side also.
“In previous years perhaps we had bigger names but these guys are very talented and they are looking forward to proving themselves and making people notice them.
“We have the best 15 players in Sri Lanka right now and we have a mix of more experienced players and some exciting young players, who just can’t wait to get started.”
Malinga was in ominous form amid the recently finished up IPL 2019 and he concedes that while conditions are distinctive in England, he is sure he will almost certainly keep up his form.
“It can never harm to get wickets. It was nice to be successful in the IPL again and it makes you confident but the conditions are so different here and so is the format.
“I know I’ve got the skills to take wickets and gives me confidence. One of the things I like about playing in England is you have to adapt to every condition. It could be really hot or quite cold and that is a real test of your skill as a bowler.”