India can win in Australia if they play positive cricket: Ranatunga

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Mumbai, Nov 29 (UNI) Former Sri Lankan cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga has said that India should play positive cricket when they tour Down Under this winter.

''At the moment, India is a very strong side. The way they are playing, I am sure they will do well in Australia. What India needs to do is to play positive cricket,'' Ranatunga told UNI.

The former Sri Lankan skipper was in town to attend a function, hosted by the Sri Lankan Airlines on the occassion of their 100th flight to India, held here last evening.

Showering encomium on the team's pace department, Ranatunga said that the fast bowlers were doing pretty well.

''India have a good chance, especially when the fast bowlers are on song. The India-Australia series is certainly going to be an intersting one,'' he said.

Stating that the team needed to work a bit more on their fielding, Ranatunga said, ''The younger players should try to get their fielding part right. It may be difficult to get the seniors do that, but the juniors have to work hard on fielding.'' When asked about Anil Kumble's captaincy, Ranatunga said that though he had won the first Test, it was too early to pass a judgement. ''It will take a little more time to analyse how he has performed,'' he added.

Defending his former team mate, Marvan Atapattu's recent outburst against Sri Lankan Selection Board, Ranatunga said that he (Atapattu) certainly got a raw deal at the hands of the selectors.

''What Atapattu has said is absolutely correct. Unfortunately, I am not sure whether the timing and the place was right. I would have prefered if he could have mentioned those things after the game rather than during the game,'' he said.

Marvan Atapattu, who made his final goodbye to Sri Lankan cricket recently had reportedly described the Selection Board as ''muppets headed by a joker''.

When asked for his reaction on ace spinner Muralitharan's performance during the Australian tour, especially in view of his advice to Muralitharan to opt out of the tour, Ranataunga said that it had nothing to do with his performance, but was for the sake of his cricketing career.

''I knew that he will be under pressure when he goes to Australia. I was little worried that he will get injured in Australia. He has a long career in cricket. I always believe that he is one bowler, who can reach the landmark of a thousand wickets. It is not very simple to do that. So, it is upto him to concentrate on what he enjoys,'' he said.

On the issue of Sri Lankan cricketers joining the rebel Indian Cricket League (ICL), the former skipper said that as of now only three cricketers had jumped on the bandwagon and that too not for the sake of money.

''It is only three retired players, who have joined the ICL. I do not think money is the driving force. It is more to do with the happenings in the Selection Board,'' he said.

''The way two senior players, Marvan Atapattu and Upul Chandana, have been treated by the Sri Lankan selectors, is one of the reasons for them to join the League. As far as Russel Arnold is concerned, he retired from international cricket more than six months back,'' he added.


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