Sri Lanka's present cricket team is more talented than the 1996 World Cup winning squad, former cricketer Arjuna Ranatunga said.
"With the exception of Aravinda de Silva, the cricket team we have today is more talented than the 1996 squad," he said, adding that the present administration of the sport has misled young and talented cricketers.
"I had several questions with the Asia Cup," Ranatunga said raising concerns as to why the Asian Cricket Council awarded USD 50,000 to the curators and groundsmen at Colombo and Kandy.
"I have one question. There have been many Indian tours of Sri Lanka. Some games were washed out while some were played due to the dedicated service of the ground staff. But I have never witnessed anyone awarding them cash prizes," Ranatunga said.
The former cricket captain said that he is not opposed to money being distributed to the staff.
"I like it very much if the money is given to someone, and not stolen. But then, the Man of the Match too gave his prize money to the staff at the end of the tournament," Ranatunga said, adding that the administration of Sri Lanka Cricket has never made payments of this nature.
"The groundsmen rendered their services for all these years, but not even the administration of Sri Lanka Cricket has made payments of this nature. These are the facts that media must investigate," he opined.
Ranatunga said he will not make further comments on the matter, as he will be portrayed negatively for voicing these concerns.
The former Sri Lanka skipper also slammed the International Cricket Council (ICC) as well as players for their silence on the controversy surrounding the rule changes, which he had earlier said favoured encounters featuring India and Pakistan.
Ranatunga advised the public not to blame players, despite issues with their professionalism. Although the country's current national players have several issues including their discipline and commitment, these are issues which can be addressed as responsible seniors, Ranatunga said.
"The players are always blamed. The skipper was blamed, the toss was blamed. But nobody spoke of the pitch, nobody blamed those who prepared the wicket," he said.
"Why can't a single player voice the issue where rules were changed in the middle of the tournament? It is because India is a powerful country. But we cannot betray our country, just because India is powerful," he said. (Kalani Kumarasinghe)
1996 World Cup was possible only mainly because of Aravinda De Silva and also players like Murali but it should be considered and overall team effort.
Make your point but don’t make unwanted comparisons.
Bandu Wednesday, 20 September 2023 06:46 PM
No No. Not by a long shot. Sanath Kalu Marvan Aravinda Guru Mahanama, you and Hashan were splendid.
Murali Chaminda Pramodya with allrounder Kumar D were an incomparable dream team.
Jaccob Wednesday, 20 September 2023 08:05 PM
Marvan in 1996? Who?
Nirmal Wednesday, 20 September 2023 07:51 PM
Quite true, the main curator of grounds has had allegations even before.
Thusitha Wednesday, 20 September 2023 07:53 PM
Difference is team spirit and top to bottom poor discipline and professionalism
disappointed sri lankan Wednesday, 20 September 2023 08:11 PM
yes very talented at making new unexpected records like this
Quintus Christian George Wednesday, 20 September 2023 08:44 PM
Is Arjuna speaking in his own mind and sense or just jabbering to gain popularity
For 1996 team the spirit was there
Karalasingam Sivalingam Wednesday, 20 September 2023 09:03 PM
Arujana's comments has to be accepted, in regard to team strength, distribution of money among ground staff etc. Money distribution is raising many doubtful questions.
Concerned Wednesday, 20 September 2023 09:17 PM
Very interesting observations Arjuna. Then again many know the speculative truth behind India vs Srilanka matches from a long time.
It's like the existence of Aliens. Many of us have a gut feeling to the point of believing, but also know
Parakrama Wednesday, 20 September 2023 09:42 PM
Agree with Arjuna. We have a great team and captain. The system is corrupt but our boys have potential. Lets back them.
Ranjan Wednesday, 20 September 2023 10:23 PM
Sounds Senseless to me Mr Captain Cool...!!
Our team played like babies just born, crazy thought though. Wake up Mr Ranathunga
Sana Perera Wednesday, 20 September 2023 10:56 PM
So you are implying, somehow the pitch was fixed to help India? That's why the money was distributed. OK. But we won the toss, couldn't we read the pitch and decided to bowl first?
N V Jen Wednesday, 20 September 2023 11:36 PM
Team effort and collective belief won the 1996 world cup, apart from the dedicated guidance given by Ana Punchihewa. What happened in 1999 under your leadership virtually with the same team, though conspirators kicked out Ana? Pathetic exit in the first round itself. Don't preach like a saint now Arjuna.
Shihab Aaqeel Daiyan Wednesday, 20 September 2023 11:52 PM
The 1996 World Cup team was the best, will be the best because of the dedication and hardwork. When the top order fails it's the lower order which takes us to victory.
We will never ever see a team like 1996.
Anyway all the very best to Dasun and Co. or the 2023 Team.
Fathima Lai Thursday, 21 September 2023 01:46 AM
The 1996 team turned cricket haters and those who knew nothing about it into cricket lovers, even middle-aged housewives knew each player by his name and cheered when their fav guys were in action. The team was like a family. Ranatunga was not only a classic batsman but the best captain with great leadership too. But personally, can't agree with "more talented than ’96 squad" statement.
kumar Thursday, 21 September 2023 06:01 AM
Arjuna no longer plays cricket; he is become a politician. His remarks should therefore be viewed as politically motivated rather than coming from a professional cricketer. Anyone can prepare a pitch, but the field has to be shared by both teams.
ceylone Thursday, 21 September 2023 07:16 AM
True man, if not for Murali, people would have forgotten many years ago.
Jude Thursday, 21 September 2023 07:42 AM
Gone are the days where players Wear SL colours with pride, Played for the Love of the game!! Nowadays players only concern is money!! And winning is not priority!!
MWAI Fernando Thursday, 21 September 2023 07:51 AM
Arjuna´s time India was not our big brother, only our immediate neighbor. But now every thing has changed. Small brother has to dance according to the tune of big brother as he has become a dependent of big brother. Small brother is warned not to hurt or make him cry for any reason. Otherwise the consequences will be very harsh. He will have to suffer without money, without food, without medicine and, and and,....!
Jude Thursday, 21 September 2023 07:56 AM
Remember, talent and skills will take only 10% and 90% is using the head !! Nowadays, with all the technology including Artificial intelligence every team knows each players strengths and weaknesses when it's come to batting and bowling!! So before you come to the Field the game plan is drawn!! How you execute your game depends how you're mentally strong!!
cricket fan Thursday, 21 September 2023 08:47 AM
Ranatunga must be joking . The current team is even losing and struggling against newcomers Afghanistan and Bangladesh and have to come through the back door to qualify to play in the world cup etc.
Nonis Appuhamy Thursday, 21 September 2023 11:54 AM
they have shown and confirmed your conjecture!
They have won almost all matched in 2023; some are in (nearly) jail by raping allegations, some are enjoying the life after killing innocent people while driving with alcohol. Well done AR. Do not be a fool like your brother!
Terrence K Thursday, 21 September 2023 12:39 PM
As the Captain of the Squad who won the 1996 World Cup you have made comparisons of our own Cricketers the team that won the 1996 World Cup with the team who lost the Asian Cup 2023 in shame which is belittling the players of yesteryear. If the present team is better than the past they should have won all matches. The only thing is when the team won in 1996 your brain was functioning well but with age amnesia !!!!
Adam Thursday, 21 September 2023 03:58 PM
If they are more talented than the 1996 team, how come they loose in the most embarrassing way?
Gong Baas Thursday, 21 September 2023 04:20 PM
IS ARJUNA TRYING TO SAY THAT THEY WON THE WORLD CUP IN 1996 DESPITE HAVING LESS TALENT THAN NOW ?
navi Thursday, 21 September 2023 10:23 PM
Forget the runs, the Top Order batsmen failed to protect their wickets.
This proves that none of our batsmen are technically sound.
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