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Shirin Sadikot in Mohali

We will rely on our spinners: Thirimanne

Maroons skipper says Mendis, Herath hold key to CLT20 success

If there is a second home for the Sri Lankan cricketers, it has got to be India. Their national cricket team visits their northern neighbor quite frequently and the similar conditions in both countries mean the adaptation is not a big hassle for the first-timers.

It is no wonder then, that Lahiru Thirimanne, the captain of the Kandurata Maroons – Sri Lanka’s representation in the Karbonn Smart Champions League 2013 – is quietly confident of his team’s chances in the Qualifiers.

Having successful international cricketers like Kumar Sangakkara, Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara adds a lot of steel to the team that has its fair share of young blood.

“We are a young team but some of our players are very experienced and that makes for a very good combination,” Thirimanne said at the welcome press conference of the tournament in Chandigarh.

“These conditions are similar to what we have in Sri Lanka and it gives us a big advantage in the Qualifiers. It is a very big opportunity for Kandurata Maroons and we have been practicing very hard back in Sri Lanka,” he said.

While the “right balance of the team” pleases Thirimanne, the skipper had no qualms in admitting that spinners will be the key to their success in the tournament.

“Having spinners like Ajantha Mendis and Rangana Herath gives us a very good chance of succeeding in this tournament.

“In the pace department, we have Kulasekara and he has been performing really well at the international level. We have Dilhara Lokuhettige who came back in the Sri Lankan side for the Champions Trophy in England.

“We have a good pace attack, but we will rely on our spinners in this tournament,” Thirimanne said.

The 24-year-old batsman was extremely welcoming of the fact that Sangakkara will be by his side when they take on the team that poses the biggest threat to the Maroons in the Qualifiers. Besides the overall wealth of experience that the veteran batsman brings in, his knowledge of the Sunrisers Hyderabad is particularly precious to the Maroons.

“It’s a real privilege to have Sangakkara in our team,” Thirimanne gushed. “We all know how good he is. He plays for the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL and he knows what they are capable of. He is helping us a lot in terms of giving us information about their players and forming strategies.”

The Maroons will kick off the tournament on September 17 by taking on the Sunrisers at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.

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