EXCLUSIVE | India were the best team in ICC Cricket World Cup 2023: Upul Tharanga

Rutvij JoshiRutvij Joshi
November 21 2023
Upul Tharanga

Upul Tharanga has featured for Sri Lanka in two World Cups

Against the picturesque backdrop of the JSCA stadium in Ranchi, the second season of the LLC (Legends League Cricket) is unfolding, bringing together cricket stars of yesteryears  and providing them a platform to play the game once again in the T20 format. One of the new entrants in this star-studded tournament are the Southern Southern Super Stars, a team who bring a fresh and dynamic energy to the competition.

Among the notable players in their lineup is the seasoned ex-Sri Lankan batter, Upul Tharanga, who brings a wealth of experience and skill to the team. As the Southern Southern Super Stars embark on this exciting journey, they are eager to make their mark and carve out a place among the legends of the game.

Bhilwara Kings, aim to retain their title in the highly competitive Legends League Cricket. Having proven their mettle in the inaugural season, they enter the tournament as the team to beat. With a formidable lineup and a winning mentality, the Bhilwara Kings are determined to showcase their cricketing prowess once again. The battle for supremacy promises to be fierce, with Urbanisers Hyderabad and Southern Southern Super Stars emerging as the new challengers, injecting a sense of anticipation and unpredictability into the tournament.

In a exclusive conversation with Khel Now, Upul Tharanga from the Southern Southern Super Stars shared his enthusiasm for joining the Legends League Cricket. He emphasized the chance to remain connected with the cricketing community after retirement.

Upul Tharanga also touched upon the current situation in Sri Lankan Cricket and stressed the significance of the Indian Cricket team making a comeback after their World Cup final defeat. Drawing from his own experiences, he highlighted facing similar disappointments in 2007 and 2011 and expressed hope for India to bounce back strongly.

Here are the excerpts from the interview with Upul Tharanga below:

Q: You retired in 2021, so what have you been doing after your retirement?

A: After retirement, you know, that time, Covid was happening. So I was like, figuring out, you know, I played some domestic games. and now there are few Legends League happening around the world. So I played through (those) the tournament. 

Q: What prompted you to play Legends League Cricket ?

A: In those days there was no opportunity like this, you would meet only a few people after you retire. But now it is really good, we can catch up and get together with the players who have played with us a long time back.

Q: You are playing for new team Southern Southern Super Stars So what do you think about the team?

A: I think we got a really good balance. So I think it’s going to be like the first time we are playing together as a team.

Q: India lost the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 final yesterday. You were at the receiving end in 2011. So how does a team recover from such a loss when you know and especially for India when they lost at home So, how does the team recover from that?

A:  Yeah, it is not easy because I also felt like twice that time Not that easy like especially when you are playing in home ground with your home crowd. So I think, yeah, unfortunately it will be in the mind for the players, management and especially with the people in India for a very long time. But hopefully, you know, it’s a great game, so hopefully India will bounce back because I feel they are (were) the best team during the World Cup.

Q: Sri Lanka did not have the best of World Cups in this edition and also had injury issues before and during the World Cup. How do you assess the World Cup from a Sri Lankan perspective ?

A: I think injury played a major part in deciding the balance of the team. Especially when you miss a player like Wanindu (Hasaranga) before the tournament. As a team I think he is the one who is the major part of the bowling side. So it is not that easy when you lose a player like Wanindu especially and Chameera also came back later. So unfortunately I think we played some good. We could have won games in (against) Bangladesh also. We could have won with more chance. But I feel like we got very good young side so hopefully they will bounce back very soon. 

Q: The ICC has unfortunately banned the SLC. So how are the ex-player and fans back home reacting to it?

A: I think everyone is disappointed. But hopefully this problem is sorted out very soon.

Q: What is the way out now for Sri Lankan cricket?

A: For us, I think we need to play a brand of our cricket. We’ve got talented players. I think we need to give them much more time to be in the sidelines. If you take teams like, especially Indian players, I think, like most of the senior guys, I think, they have been playing together for the last 8-10 years. I think we need to give that exposure to our players as well because I feel like that is what we lack, especially tournament like here, I think experience matters a lot.

Q: Next year there is an U19 World Cup happening in Sri Lanka. If this ban issue is not sorted out, there might be chances that Sri Lanka might lose out on the hosting rights. Your views on that ?

A: Yeah, it is unfortunate if you lose that one. I think it’s a very good opportunity for like as a country and as a players like playing in your hometown and home grounds. I think it’s like a very good opportunity for all the Sri Lankans so I hope the issue gets sorted (soon).

Q: What is the future of ODI cricket right now? There are ways of saying that you can have 40 over games or there are suggestions to play 25-25 overs, with two innings ?

A: I also feel like, especially 50-year cricket is dying. The last 2-3 years, (lots of T20) tournaments are happening. So, hopefully T20 and Test cricket, I think that is going up. So, hopefully, I feel 50-year cricket is a very good tournament. That’s the… like it is not too trendy and it is not like this, you know, it’s in the middle.

Q: Your best performing Sri Lankan player in the World Cup?

A: First of all, I think. Madhushanka. He played in the first world cup as I think new player, I think. He has  shown like lots of potential to succeed in the future.

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