Monday 9 February 2009 

ICC World T20:Jayawardene And Sharma Look Ahead To T20 World Cup

Indian fast bowler Ishant Sharma and Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene looked ahead to the 2009 ICC World Twenty20 when the trophy began a world tour in Colombo.

Both men would dearly love to be reunited with the trophy come June 21st at Lord's, where the final will be played. Sharma was not part of the India squad that won in 2007 but he said he was inspired by the performance of his compatriots.

“What happened then definitely made me want to be a part of the India team,” he said.

“Everyone saw and heard the reception the players got when they returned to Mumbai.  It was a big day for Indian cricket to win a world event after a long time and I want to be a part of that in 2009.”

Sharma has since become a vital member of India's team in all three forms of the game, with spells of bowling against South Africa, Australia and most recently Sri Lanka sticking in the mind.

Sri Lanka went down in an ODI series 4-1 at home to India but Jayawardene is hoping that memories of World Cup successes in 1996 and 2007, where in both tournaments they reached the final, can boost his side ahead of their trip to England.

“Anything that involves cricket in Sri Lanka will see the people go crazy for it," he added.

“When we came back home as runners-up from the (ICC Cricket) World Cup in the Caribbean in 2007 it took us three-and-a-half hours to reach Colombo from the airport so I think Sri Lanka would go berserk if we could get hold of this trophy in June.

“We enjoyed that tournament but in terms of experience hardly anybody had played more than a handful of T20 matches. It was a first and no-one was quite sure how to approach it,” he added.

“Now I think everyone realises a lot more about what needs to be done, the tactics involved and so on.

“It’s a world event, it is gathering momentum and everyone wants to win it.  Everyone wants to get their hands on that trophy,” he added

Sharma explained that the tournament would be something of an unknown quantity for him.

“It’s like bowling in a batting powerplay all the time,” he said.  “It’s not easy for bowlers but it’s all about sticking to plans.

“I toured England in 2007 but didn’t play a lot of cricket then.  I have heard about the pitches there being flat but let’s wait and see how they play.

India are placed in Group A alongside Bangladesh and Scotland while Sri Lanka take on Australia and the West Indies in Group C.

© Cricket World 2009