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Target 2023 World Cup, Ranatunga tells Bangladesh

World Cup winning former Sri Lanka captain Arjuna Ranatunga has asked Bangladesh cricket authorities to have a long term plan of winning the 2023 World Cup. Ranatunga was impressed with the fine effort the tourists showcased during their tour of Sri Lanka. Bangladesh created history a fortnight ago with a come-from-behind-victory in the second Test against Sri Lanka in Colombo.

"They need to focus on the young crop of players. They need to play a lot of 'A' team cricket and should undertake lot of under-19 tours. When we won the World Cup in 1996, we had a long term plan. Bangladesh should undertake something similar. I believe they are on the right track," Ranatunga said at the Ports and Shipping Ministry Auditorium in the heart of Colombo.

The retired former Test captain is currently a Cabinet Minister. He expressed these sentiments when he met the touring journalists. "My advice is to plan for the 2023 World Cup now itself. In 2023, the World Cup will be played in the sub-continent. They should invest a lot on the current under-19 side and the under-23 side to get the desired results six years from now. If they plan properly, I think it could not be difficult to win the World Cup in the subcontinent. Draw up a plan saying that you want to reach the semi-finals in 2023 and things will fall in line," Ranatunga further said.

"Bangladesh have some players who can bowl at good pace and they have a very good left-arm pacer in Mustafizur. I am very impressed with him. He needs to be protected. In order to win the World Cup, Bangladesh need to find their own Aravinda de Silva as well."
Ranatunga was impressed with the improvement Bangladesh have made over the years. Their previous tours to Sri Lanka used to be one-sided affairs with the hosts dominating. But this time they took the Sri Lankans by surprise. "I told three years ago that the way Bangladesh is going they will beat Sri Lanka in Tests. That happened in this series. Their commitment is good. I have played in Bangladesh three seasons, in Mohammedan in 87-89. It was nice to see them do well. Sadly it was against Sri Lanka.

"When I used to play in Dhaka, I told authorities to improve and invest on school cricket. They have successfully implemented it. Some Sri Lankan coaches too have helped Bangladesh cricket in last decades. The current coaches are doing a fine job too. I think Bangladesh Cricket Board is more focused than Sri Lanka Cricket at the moment."
Ranatunga said that Sri Lanka's recent struggles are due to lack of planning. "When we won World Cup in 1996, Aravinda batted at number four and I batted at number five. After Asanka Gurusinha's retirement, we brought Marvan Atapattu in at number three. Then we brought Mahela Jayawardene in at number five and I went down to number six. That helped Mahela to play freely. But unfortunately a similar strategy was not followed in last few years. Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardane batted in at number two, three and four respectively. They did not change that batting order. I will blame the selectors for this.


"We had Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal in the squad at that time. I think these two are still the best batsmen in the country. They should have been given opportunities higher up the order much earlier. The best example is Sanath Jayasuriya. To convert him into an explosive opener we were patient and gave him enough time. For Chandimal and Thirimanne, I don't think the selectors had such kind of patience. You have to give them time and confidence. When a young player will understand that captain and selectors have faith on him, then he could play the game without pressure. That didn't happen in the last few years," Ranatunga remarked.

Source: cricbuzz

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