Karachi [Pakistan]: Former Sri Lanka skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan believes Asian countries will have to play out of their skins to win the Champions Trophy, beginning Thursday in England and Wales.
Sri Lanka go into the 50-over marquee event as underdogs and rightly so after a disorderly few months which saw them lose 0-5 in an ODI series to South Africa.
They enjoyed good campaigns in 2007, 2009 (World T20), 2011 and again in 2012 (World T20) where they finished runners-up before finally ending their trophy drought in 2014.
But things started going downhill ever since their maiden World T20 triumph with the senior duo of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene biding adieu to their international careers the following year.
And things don’t seem to be on the rise and as recently as this week, the Lankan Tigers succumbed to an embarrassing loss to Scotland and had to see Bangladesh move past them in the ICC ODI rankings.
Talking about Sri Lanka’s chances in the upcoming tournament, Dilshan feels that considering the conditions in English conditions, the non-Asian team —England, South Africa and Australia will have a huge advantage.
“We have a young team and they are inexperienced but a talented one. Playing away from the sub-continent, especially in English conditions, is not an easy task and that is where sides like England, South Africa and Australia will have a huge advantage,” the former Sri Lankan opener said in an interview with pakpassion.net.
“For Asian countries to win the trophy in England is not going to be easy. In fact, I will say that even playing 75% of their potential will not be enough and they will need to play out of their skins to win the Champions Trophy this year,” he added.
The -40-year-old, however, did hesitate to name any one team as the favourite to win the Champions Trophy.
Sri Lanka will kick off their campaign against South Africa on June 3 before the two matches against their sub-continental rivals India and Pakistan.
Sri Lanka Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Upul Tharanga, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Pradeep, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedera, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara. (ANI)