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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mahela hopes Sachin beats Lara in Lanka

Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene is hoping that batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar will surpass former West Indies skipper Brian Lara’s Test record of 11,953 runs (aggregate) during India’s tour of Sri Lanka later this year.
"Sachin is a great batsman and a fine human being and I would be happy if he gets those 171 runs required to surpass Lara’s record," Jayawardene told on Monday.
"I think 170 runs from six innings and three Tests is not much for a champion batsman like Sachin Tendulkar. We have to admire what Sachin has achieved in the last 17-18 years and it has been a privilege playing against him," he added.
"We know that the Indian team is a tough team to beat and we respect their batting line-up. But we will have a plan in place for every batsmen before the tour starts. Personally, I would be happy if Sachin can get to his record in front of the Sri Lankan crowd," he said.
Predicting the Asia Cup to be a very close affair, Jayawardene said India and Pakistan were the main threats to Sri Lanka’s bid to win the tournament in Pakistan next month.
"India and Pakistan are the two main threats during our campaign in the Asia Cup but we are confident of thwarting them. India have been performing quite consistently in the recent past while the Pakistanis have been very unpredictable as they perform below par in one game and then lift their game to a very high standard in the next, like they did in the tri-series in Bangladesh," said the Sri Lanka skipper.
The other four Sri Lankan cricketers, who were present during the press conference were his former captains Arjuna Ranatunga and Aarvinda De Silva, and his current teammates Kumara Sangakkara and the highest Test wicket taker in the world - Muttiah Muralitharan.
Speaking about the switchover from Twenty20 (Indian Premier League) to One-Day cricket (Asia Cup) and then to Test cricket later this year, Jayawardene said, it should not be difficult as they were true professionals.
"We are just coming out of a very good Twenty20 tournament in India but I don’t think it will be difficult to adjust to the needs of different versions as the basics remain the same. I am sure my team will adjust," Jayawardene said.
Speaking about the proposed Champions Trophy Twenty20 tournament, where two top teams from India, Australia, South Africa, England, Pakistan and Sri Lanka would fight it out for the top spot, Jayawardene said it was a very good concept to promote the shortest version.
"There is room for all three versions to survive and I don’t think any one format is threatening the other even though Test cricket is the real thing to prove players worth. At least for the next five years, I don’t see ODI or the Tests being threatened by the advent of Twenty20," Jayawardene said.

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