By Anbarasan Ethirajan
BBC Tamil Service
Sri Lanka's impressive win over New Zealand in their opening World Cup match raised hopes that the team could produce a run similar to one in 1996 when they won the tournament.
the fluctuations in fortune for Sri Lanka have prompted calls for a change in their team
strategy and a reassessment of how the game is managed by officials back home.
Though the side topped Pool B after the
preliminaries, a defeat against Kenya and thrashings at the hands of India and Australia in the Super Sixes showed they were far from champion material.
Former captain Arjuna Ranatunga, who led the team to World Cup success in
1996, believes that a lack of strength in depth is a key factor in why his country are so inconsistent.
"The main problem is that we are really struggling
find quality fast bowlers," said
During the 2003 campaign, only left-arm paceman Chaminda Vaas has been prolific in the wicket-taking department, while youngsters Pulasthi
Gunaratne and Prabhat Nissanka have suffered.
Spinner Muttiah Muralitharan has been the only other bowler to have made a mark - albeit it in sporadic bursts.
Ranatunga added that the Sri Lanka Cricket Control Board were partly to blame for the current poor state of the bowling attack.
"Former Sri Lankan fast-bowler Rumesh Ratnayake did a good job by grooming
youngsters like Dilhara Fernando and
Nissanka," he said.
"But we didn't look after him well and he left. We
enough talent in Sri Lanka but our board officials
mismanaging the game."
Ranatunga says the Sri Lanka board made a mistake
Sri Lanka's batting performances have also been below par at the World Cup.
Captain Sanath Jayasuriya has been the only real shining light among a line-up which, according to him, have shown a lack of fight.
"During the match with India our batsmen did not
discipline and control," said Jayasuriya.
"First of all, they should
how to play for the first 15 overs. We have not
how to so far. Their attitude has been highly disappointing."
Ranatunga added that electing to bat first in group matches against Canada and Bangladesh deprived the middle order of much needed practice.
"We exposed them
stronger teams like West Indies and Australia and
failed," said Ranatunga.
Now Sri Lanka's fate hangs in balance. They
qualify for the semi-final providing India beats New
Zealand and they