Sri Lanka hope to follow Test example in Sixes
By NAZVI CAREEM
SRI Lanka's young side will draw inspiration for the Hong Kong Sixes from their seniors, who defeated Pakistan in a Test series.
Skipper Marvan Atapattu, the only player in the squad with Test experience, said the side have been given a huge boost by the performance of the national team, who last week beat hosts Pakistan in the third Test to win the series 2-1.
It was only Sri Lanka's second Test series win overseas and prompted the governing body of Pakistan to launch an inquiry into the home team's defeat.
'The boys did really well in Pakistan and their success has been a good morale-booster for us,' Atapattu said. 'Hopefully, we will be able to continue the success in this tournament.' Sri Lanka, losing finalists to England in 1993, were unable to play in last year's event because of international commitments.
'Some of the best young players are in the side,' Atapattu added.
'Many of the players represented Sri Lanka in the recent under-24 series against South Africa.' Sri Lanka take on India and Hong Kong in the Green Group.
India have had only average success in past tournaments, something which captain Mohammed Azharruddin hopes to redeem with a side packed with stars, including Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli and Sanjay Manjrekar.
'We have not done so well in the last few years, but this year we have a very good side,' Azharruddin said.
West Indies, who have also struggled in the tournament in the past, hope to redeem themselves this year, according to their Test captain Richie Richardson.
'I think we can do better this time because we have the bowlers,' Richardson said.
Richardson is coming off a difficult season in which his side were beaten by Australia in a home Test series and then drew 2-2 away to England.
Following the Australian defeat Richardson was quoted as saying that if the West Indies were to lose another series he would run away to China or Alaska.
At yesterday's 'Meet the Captains' press conference, Richardson was asked which destination he would have chosen, to which he replied: 'We didn't lose . . . that's why you see me here.' The West Indies are in the Blue Group with South Africa and Holland.
The remaining Red Group features two-time defending champions England, Australia and New Zealand.