Chamari Athapaththu – ‘I need to see my crew within the semi-finals of the World Cup’

Sri Lanka are but to qualify for both the T20 or ODI World Cup however their captain Chamari Athapaththu has already set a aim for them in the event that they get there.
“I need to see my crew within the semi-finals of the World Cup,” she stated after Sri Lanka ended their tour of South Africa with a six-wicket win within the third ODI. “I’ve labored so arduous within the final 15 years and I’ve achieved just a few issues as a participant however as a captain, I need to do extra. I need to see my crew within the semi-final of this World Cup. That is my want.”

It is solely truthful to permit Athapaththu some licence to set targets like these, particularly after her scintillating 195 not out towards South Africa on Wednesday night. Not solely did she obtain the third-highest particular person rating in girls’s ODIs however she additionally led Sri Lanka to the best profitable chase within the format to underline each her personal dominance and the rising pedigree in her nationwide crew.

Within the final 12 months, Sri Lanka have received T20I collection towards Bangladesh, in England and South Africa and reached the ultimate of the Asian Video games. They’ve additionally received ODI collection towards Bangladesh and New Zealand and took a sport off South Africa to maintain themselves within the operating for automated qualification the 2025 ODI World Cup, a should for Athapaththu after they missed out on the 2022 event. To get there, they have to do properly towards West Indies, who’re languishing in ninth place on the ten-team Ladies’s Championship desk, and Eire, who’re tenth. So Athapaththu has each purpose to assume her crew can get the factors they should end within the high 5, particularly after contributions like Nilakshika Silva’s unbeaten 50 towards South Africa.

Earlier than they flip their consideration to the ODI World Cup, there’s the T20 model in Bangladesh later this 12 months to consider. Sri Lanka’s marketing campaign to qualify for that occasion begins subsequent week within the UAE, the place they enter the qualifiers as favourites. They take the type of 9 T20I wins of their final 15 matches into it and are grouped with Thailand, Scotland, Uganda and USA, and should attain the event closing to qualify for the T20 World Cup.

“I do know it’s a very massive process for us,” Athapaththu stated. “Each crew is absolutely good and each sport is absolutely essential for us. We’ll give attention to one sport at a time.”

The usage of the phrase “we” is essential there. It was solely ten days in the past that Athapaththu cleared up doubts over her worldwide future after cryptic Fb posts that instructed the tip was close to. Forward of the ODI collection towards South Africa, she confirmed she would play on the T20 World Cup Qualifier however indicated she would decide about stepping away within the close to future and he or she caught to that line after the collection as properly.

“My retirement could be very quickly,” she stated. “I am unable to point out dates, however very quickly. We will discuss this stuff later. For now, I am all the time taking care of the younger women. I’ve constructed a younger crew. I need to see these younger women within the World Cup in the future. As a captain, I’m actually happy with my younger women and they’re taking part in actually good cricket. I sacrificed loads of issues for Sri Lankan cricket within the final 15 years. I’m glad to guide this crew. I’m a extremely, actually proud captain. I hope my women play actually good cricket in future as properly. I hope my crew can play their greatest cricket on the T20 World Cup.”

All indications are that if Sri Lanka make it to the Bangladesh event, and maybe even the ODI World Cup in India subsequent 12 months, Athapaththu will keep on however she can also be wanting on the future. Whereas she basked within the success of her innings in Potchefstroom and accepted congratulations from the greats of Sri Lankan cricket together with Mahela Jayawardene, Lasith Malinga and her “life time tremendous hero” Sanath Jayasuriya, she doesn’t need to stand within the solar alone. “I need to see one other participant in Sri Lanka go my rating very quickly,” she stated.

Actually, she sees it as important that Sri Lanka’s batters, particularly, whom she regards as vastly improved, begin to hit some excessive notes as a result of she has skilled first-hand how that may impression a profession. She referred to her earlier greatest – 178 not out towards Australia on the 2017 ODI World Cup – as her high knock as a result of it opened doorways for her internationally.

“I all the time price the 178 No. 1 as a result of that 178 modified my cricket profession,” she stated. “Nobody knew about me then however after I scored that 178, I obtained a chance to play in franchise cricket and I learnt loads of issues in franchise cricket. Some individuals assume franchise cricket is all about cash however I do not assume like that. I learnt loads of issues and I shared my data. I learnt from different gamers, world-class gamers, and we shared the identical dressing room. So I price my No. 1 innings because the 178 however this innings was a great innings as a result of we chased 302.”

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