Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Muralitharan to miss T20 opener

Sri Lanka's star off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan is likely to miss Wednesday's first Twenty20 International against India.
Visiting captain Kumar Sangakkara said Murali has not yet to recover from a bruised ligament injury on his fingers.

"We don't have any injury worries apart from Murali who is probably out of Wednesday's Twenty20 tie because of bruised ligaments on his fingers," Sangakkara said.

In the just concluded Test rubber, Muralitharan was punished severely by the Indians particularly by Virender Sehwag in the third and final match in Mumbai.

Sangakkara said his team would focus on doing well in the remaining part of the tour having been vanquished 0-2 by India in the three-Test series.

"Test series is over and behind us. This is a new series and a new format and new players have come in. We would focus on it now. We will try and do a few things differently. The important thing is to enjoy the first T20 match," he said.

Sangakkara also made it clear that veteran Sanath Jayasuriya would definitely open the innings in the Twenty20 ties against India, the second match being scheduled at Mohali on December 12, while his position at the top of the order would be decided later in ODIs.

The Lankans have brought in 40-year-old Jayasuriya and sling-arm bowler Lasith Malinga, among others, into their limited-over squad.

"Sanath will open in T20s. It's only in ODIs his opening the innings is not certain. He's excellent on the field and will put to shade even 20-year-olds. His bowling is also one of our most potent weapons," said Sangakkara who also said he would be keeping wickets on Wednesday.

"I hope so," he said when asked if he would be doing the stumper's job in the five ODIs that starts from December 15.

The visiting captain described his predecessor Mahela Jayawardene as his team's best Twenty20 player and among the top five in this format in the world though the latter is known better for his qualities as a long-innings customer.

"Mahela is our best Twenty20 batsman and is among the top five batsmen in the world in this format. He's got the power, strokes and placements to excel inTests, ODIs and T20s. See how well he did in the Twenty20 World Cup," he pointed out.

Sangakkara refused to predict a winning score at the VCA stadium in Jamtha.

"I have not played here before and can't say for sure, but anything over 160 should be a good score," he said.

Asked about a change in guard at the top in the IPL franchise team Punjab King's XI, who have decided to replace
Yuvraj Singh with him, as reported by a TV channel, Sangakkara said he did not know about the development.

"I am hearing it for the first time. I have not heard anything about this. I will be going to Mohali in a few days' time and if anything like this is there I will hear it. I feel an IPL franchise will benefit with an Indian as captain. It's a great franchise to play for," he declared.

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