Dilshan wants team to be aggressive
Tilakarathne Dilshan the new captain of the Sri Lankan has done a
total make over.Dilshan whom we associate with his innovative stroke
play,with his blond streaks, a funky stud in the ear and a goatee which
takes hours to trim with a unique style has appeared to change his
outlook totally but has not changed a bit in his attacking,aggressive
and at times cheeky brand of cricket.
I met up with him at his elegant house in Kotte and tried hitting him
with bouncers,yorkers and even doosra type of questions but he hit me
back even harder with vicious cuts, pulls and even dil scoops.
Tilakarathne Dilshan the new captain of Sri Lanka Cricket .
pictures by saliya rupesighe
Such is the man,so confident,full of self belief and the will to
succeed and he promises to bring in ruthlessness and aggressiveness to
He expressed his views on the tough English tour,the new squad and
his aggressive view on captaincy.Here are some excerpts from the
Q: Faith in the young squad
A: Without Murali ,
Malinga or even Kulasekara in our bowling line up , who do you think
will have to be the spearhead of the bowling attack in England
especially since Dilhara hasn't really played much cricket in the recent
past and is inconsistent? Well our best bowlers Murali, Vaas and Malinga
have retired from test cricket and I don't have the luxury of having
I have been given a new squad with a young ,talented but an
inexperienced pace bowling attack Dilhara and Welagedara will lead the
pace attack and all our pacies especially Nuwan Pradeep generates a lot
Q: Four debutants are there in the
squad and the conditions would be quite difficult for them and most of
our senior players are still engaged in the IPL still. Isnt it going to
be huge challenge for you considering leading a young team?
A: It is going to be tough
and this time around in England especially the early part of the summer
are very testing conditions for any player no matter how good you are
The youngsters will have to adjust, but on the other hand even
experienced players will find it difficult to play in England with the
ball swinging around a lot. It is going to be a huge challenge for me
but I have faith in my squad. The conditions are going to tough and
there is a new coach and I am a new captain as well so I am eagerly
awaiting for the challenging tour.It is a rebuilding phase and young
blood needs to be infused to the team since we are aiming at the 2015
Q: You are flying to England without
our core senior players, don't you think that it is a disadvantage of
not having them for the first practice game and is that why you are
flying to England on the 11?
A: Sanga and Mahela are
our most experienced players and they have played in England earlier but
will miss the first practice game due to IPL commitments. I talked with
my owners and they agreed on releasing me on the 11th of May and I will
join the squad and play along side the youngsters in the squad. There is
a slight disadvantage of not having Mahela and Sanga for the first
practice game but they are class players and usually we give our
youngsters an opportunity in a first practice game so they have to grab
it with both hands. So I think this is a blessing in disguise as all the
youngsters in the squad would have a go in the first practice game.
(laughing) Full squad for second practice game
Q: Maharoof and Kaushal Silva will
join the squad for the first practice game. Do you see any plus point in
them playing since they aren't part of the squad?
A: Maharoof and Kaushal
are in good form and this might be an window of opportunity for a guy
like Kaushal to get in to the team and also Maharoof to make a
comeback.Hopefully there will be healthy competition among places in the
squad with everyone performing.
Q: Nuwan Pradeep and Dilhara Fernando
haven't played a single match in the IPL. Cant the SLC get them for the
first practice game since Dilhara is our most experienced bowler?
A: Nuwan Pradeep will
return to Sri Lanka on the 6th of May and we are looking at the
possibility of having Dilhara for both practice games if he wont take
part in the rest of the IPL games.All these players are professionals so
they have to adjust to different conditions quickly without giving out
excuses. Even though Nuwan Pradeep and Dilhara haven't played any
matches they practice a lot under world class coaches and they do a lot
of fitness training and gym routines.
Q: Even Thisara Perera has not played
many games and it his going to be his debut. Have you tried to work out
something for him to be in England early to get accustomed for the
A: Thisara played in a few
matches for Kochi and we are looking at a possibility of flying him down
from India if he wont take part in rest of the matches of the IPL. He is
our all rounder of the side and his bowling style would suit the English
Q: Suraj Randiv will lead the spin
attack but he is also engaged in the IPL still. Have you'll provided him
with a specific training schedule?
A: Randiv has been bowling
very well in the IPL although hasn't taken many wickets. He is in great
form and was the highest wicket taker in the Premier League. We have
sent him a Duke ball to practice so that he gets used to it.To win many
games as possible.
Q: Who do you think is good to take
your place in the future?
Well it is difficult to name one person but we have a lot of
good,talented young players. Our A side and our Under 19 players are
very skillful and some one will grab my place once I retire.
Q: What are your short term goals for
the English tour and the next few series coming up?
A: I have a brand new
team, coaching staff so I want to get the best of the senior players and
also give opportunities for youngsters as well. I don't want to plan too
far ahead, I just want to concentrate on one tour at a time and win it.
Q: What do you feel about players who
are seemingly putting IPL before country?
A: For me it is always the
country before anything. So I would definitely put forward my country
and play since the pride, the glory and honor cannot be bought for
Instill aggressiveness and competitive attitude in the team.
Q: You are an attacking player by
nature. What would you do to instill that aggressiveness especially in
our fast bowlers? Would we see more mind games with the opposition?
A: Well I am looking at
changing a few things in the future. I want our players to have that
competitive attitude and lets see in the future. (laughing)
Q: Are you going to be aggressive as
captain when it comes to on field tactics as in the past we see that we
go on the defensive in fielding and bowling changes?
A: Well, I am a positive
character so I always try to do positive things, be aggressive and win
games. I might do some changes when compared to Sanga and Mahela because
all of us think differently. I go to every match thinking that I want to
win it so there might be a few changes on the field.
Q: You captained a T 20 match against
India and was seen bashing the players. You have matured over the years,
how would you look back on that and how would you react when things go
wrong in the future?
A: Well there was a huge
ha hoo about it. Any player can get angry but when I look back now I
feel that I can control my anger and get the best out of the players. I
give 100% on the field so I expect everyone to do so.I have matured a
lot and I look forward to marshal my players in a effective way.
Q: Are you going to bat differently
now that you have more responsibility or stick to your attacking play?
A: No,I have been very
successful in opening and continue to attack from the start. So I don't
want to change my way of playing and will continue to be aggressive.
Q: Do you think that in the future we
can give opportunities guys like Chandimal to bat at number 3?
A: Well, we are looking at
a possibility of Chandimal batting at the top in ODIs. We would be
discussing with our senior players, the coach and also Marvan Atapattu
who is our new batting coach about this and come to a conclusion.
Chandimal is a superb batsman and probably our best young batsman so he
should be given opportunity to cement his place in the side.