Several members of the 1996 World Cup winning team headed by Arjuna Ranatunga (fourth from left) attend a media briefing held in connection with the program ‘Let’s celebrate 1996’ which was organized jointly by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Save Sports in Sri Lanka and held at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority on March 16 (Wednesday). (Pic by Chathura S Kodikara)

Former World Cup winning cricket captain Arjuna Ranatunga said that despite the country’s national team losing at the Asia Cup, the current bunch of players are a talented lot. Ranatunga made these comments at a media briefing held on March 16 (Wednesday) at the Sri Lanka Ports Authority to celebrate 20 years after Sri Lanka won the World Cup in 1996.

Ranatunga went on to state that a team can’t be produced in an instant and such a task called for a timeframe of about one and half years. “The good news is that for our fortune, good cricketers are still being produced” he said.

The media was briefed about a series of activities organized to celebrate the cricket feat which was witnessed two decades ago in Lahore, Pakistan. Member of the 1996 World Cup winning team Roshan Mahanama, Pramodaya Wickremesinghe, Upul Chandana along with former cricket officials like Ana Punchihewa (a former SLC President) and former Director Coaching Malcolm Perera graced the occasion as invitees.

Ranatunga further stated that players should travel as a unit during foreign tours. He affirmed that players should not participate in private dinners, family outings and trips when representing the country at cricket abroad. “If there are players who don’t like the role of administrators, such players must be disciplined,” he said. He said that certain players are making a show in front of the media these days.

The former cricket captain said that sports should be devoid of politics and that senior players must be given their due place. He took this opportunity to wish the national cricketers contesting the T20 World Cup in India.

Another member of the 1996 cricket team Roshan Mahanama underscored the importance of keeping the lion emblem in your memory and playing cricket for the sake of the country. He added that this is not the occasion to talk about individual problems. Mahanama said that the country’s cricket had no common plans to take the sport forward.

The occasion titled ‘Let’s celebrate 1996’ was organized jointly by the Sri Lanka Ports Authority and Save Sports in Sri Lanka.