Mumbai: Terming India a well-balanced and in-form outfit, former Sri Lanka pacer Chaminda Vaas predicted that Virat Kohli and his men would reach the semi-finals of the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup.
The former left arm bowler was however guarded when talking about his own country's chances in cricket's showpiece event to be held in England and Wales from 30 May, while mentioning sling-arm pacer Lasith Malinga as a key factor.
"Indian cricket has been dominating in the last two-three years. They have good back-up fast bowlers. They will do wonders. Indian team is very balanced. They will do well. My prediction is, India will definitely reach the semifinals (in the World Cup)," Vaas told reporters here on Tuesday.
Vaas is on a visit to Mumbai to inaugurate a local T20 tournament along with former teammate, left-arm spinner Rangana Herath.
On Lanka's chances he said, "For the last few months, Sri Lanka hasnt done so well. But if you analyse the combination of the team which we picked for the World Cup.
"I'm pretty sure that the selectors have done the right thing. We have to take it from there and it's upto the players to get themselves in and play well for the country. There is no doubt that Malinga is one of the best in the world and the best in Sri Lanka. We depend on him as a bowler and he showed his leadership qualities.
"He has given 100 per cent for the team and we have seen, him playing in Mumbai (in IPL) on one day and playing in Sri Lanka (in a domestic event) the next day," he said.
"It shows the commitment he has, and the commitment he has given to the team and the country. He will be the key for Sri Lanka cricket in the upcoming World Cup," said Vaas, who has 400 ODI and 355 Test wickets to his credit.
The Sri Lanka selectors have handed over Cup captaincy to Dimuth Karunaratne and Vaas was optimistic that the island nation would stand united behind the new captain and do well in the marquee event.
"Well, it is very difficult to say anything about it because for the past six months we (Sri Lanka) have been selecting captains and the captains havent given anything to the team. We lack in experience and performance in the middle.
"But the selectors and the Sri Lanka cricket have put their trust in Dimuth and given him an opportunity to captain the sid. I'm pretty sure that the team will unite and will do well in the upcoming World Cup," he hoped.
Vaas also took a dig at the Sri Lankan board saying that the biggest issue was that the selectors are chopped and changed often leading to lack of clear-cut selection policies.
"We have talent and we need to give them opportunity to play longer, rather than giving them one or two games and then pushing them out. Players need some time to perform well.
"In Sri Lanka, the biggest problem is that the selectors keep changing. There is no such thing as selection policies. Once they have a policy, it is easy to build the team. That's the biggest problem we face. Ultimately the players get caught up and they are suffering. You need to show faith," Vaas signed off.
'Tragic to see attacks in Sri Lanka'
"We cannot bring lives back," said an utterly helpless Chaminda Vaas Tuesday as thoughts of the multiple blasts that killed nearly 300 and shattered Sri Lanka's tranquility, crossed the former cricket star's mind.
Yearning for normalcy, Vaas and his colleague Rangana Herath said the need of the hour is to stay strong and united.
"So sad to see. We never thought these kind of things will happen in Sri Lanka. It is a lovely country and hospitable. People are very friendly. It is so tragic to see such things happen," Vaas told reporters here.
"We need to rebuild. We can rebuild churches or hotels but we can't bring lives back. I am sure the Sri Lankan government and the people will be very united this time and make sure that we stick together," said the former left-arm pacer with 400 ODI and 355 Test wickets.
Hearth has 433 Test wickets.
Sri Lankan authorities arrested 24 people in connection with the blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in the island nation on Easter Sunday, killing over 290 people and injuring around 500 others.
Vaas and his former teammate Herath were in the city to inaugurate a local T20 cricket tournament organised by Jwala Singh.
Herath, one of the best left-arm spinners of his time, said his country needs to stay strong during such times.
"We need to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences. As Chaminda said, we are a united country. We kind of have a panic situation but (we are sure that) we (will) become a strong country," he added.
Vaas expressed confidence that the situation would be normal again in Sri Lanka.
"This attack can happen anywhere in the world. We saw in New Zealand recently as well. These people don't have simply one place (and) they can attack anywhere in the world. I am pretty sure that things will go back to normal," Vaas remarked.
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RCB skipper Virat Kohli reached Mumbai on Tuesday, the day IPL-14 was indefinitely suspended due to multiple COVID cases in its bio-bubble. By Thursday early morning, all the other playing and non-playing staff had also left for their onward destinations.
Karunaratne built an unbeaten 85 as Sri Lanka moved to 229 for three at the close, still needing 112 to avoid the follow-on after Bangladesh declared at 541 for seven earlier in the day.