Sri Lanka National Cricket Team captain Dasun Shanaka is hoping that the Asia Cup 2022 championship win triggers the turnaround in Sri Lanka Cricket.
Dasun Shanaka-led Sri Lanka National Cricket Team defeated Babar Azam-led Pakistan National Cricket Team by 23 runs to win their 6th Asia Cup title on Sunday, September 11, at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who smashed sensational 71 runs off 45 balls, including 6 fours and 3 sixes, won the Player of the Match award in the final. Speaking after the match, Rajapaksa said that they want to bring back the aggression to Sri Lanka Cricket.
“We always wanted to show the world – a couple of decades back, we had aggression in our side, and we wanted to create those moments [again] as a unit,” Rajapaksa said after the win as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
“Looking forward, we want to keep up this momentum ahead of the World Cup. With the crisis happening back home, this is a tough time for all the Sri Lankans, but hope we brought some smiles on the faces of our people. This is to the whole nation; they were waiting for this for so long.”
During the same press conference, Dasun Shanaka lauded the Sri Lankan players for making a strong comeback and winning the title after facing a humiliating defeat in the Asia Cup opener against Afghanistan.
He said: “After that first loss, we had a serious discussion. We knew we had the talent, but it was about applying those in game scenarios and all the players stood up. It’s the environment we created as a team and coaching staff that has paid off.”
“Believe in our cricketers. A lot of bad things are going around. As cricketers, they too should enjoy their lives as well, not spreading bad things. They have private lives too. Keep believing, that is the key. As a captain, I give confidence to the players, [whatever] I can. I can’t ask more than that.”
Madushan brings promise, skill and maturity – Dasun Shanaka
Shanaka further heaped praise on Pramod Madushan for his brilliant performance with the ball in the crucial games. He asserted:
“Madushan brings promise, skill and maturity. We knew him from the start of his domestic career, but we had to take a risk to get the rewards. Madushan’s skills were there [to see] and he’s got a good career ahead. Glad he delivered in just his second game; glad he rewarded us for the risk we have taken [in picking him].”
He also said that Team Sri Lanka have been playing very good cricket for the past two-three years, but the winning factor was lacking. He said:
“Even two-three years back, the team used to play good cricket, but the winning factor wasn’t there. This could be the turnaround in our cricket, this lot can continue to play for five-six years, which is a very good sign as well.”
Shanaka was further asked about his views on the Asia Cup 2022 being called the mini-India-Pakistan series ahead of its commencement.
“It’s not like that,” he said with a smile. “When it comes to India-Pakistan, we know it’s a different game. Our cricketing history is also good, so we didn’t have anything to prove about us being a good team. The only thing is we weren’t probably ranked high enough, but with this team, we can do better and become that high-ranking team [we aspire to be].”
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