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September 19, 2002
1940 IST

Pool A:
Aus | Ban | NZ

Pool B:
Ind | Eng | Zim

Pool C:
Ken | SA | WI

Pool D:
Ned | Pak | SL

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ODI cricket needs to change,
says Aravinda DeSilva

Faisal Shariff in Colombo

After playing 285 one-day internationals and amassing 8,756 runs, Pinnaduwage Aravinda DeSilva thinks one-day cricket has become boring.

Returning to the Sri Lanka side after being ignored by the selectors last season, DeSilva, who had earned the sobriquet of 'Mad Max' for his attacking batting, called for a change in the one-day format to keep the interest alive.

"One-day cricket needs a change, especially from the 15th over to the 40th over," he said.

Aravinda DeSilva "The game has become rather monotonous during that phase and needs to be thought up again."

He reckoned there should be changes in the field restriction rules.

"The field restrictions should be for any fifteen overs in the 50 overs rather than the first fifteen.

"That will make the game more interesting and captains will have to think that much more and shift their batting orders.

"At the beginning of any over the captain should tell the umpire that this is one of the fifteen overs, which fall under the fielding restrictions."

He argued that the change would make the one-day game more exciting and renew interest.

"People want to be entertained. Very few people watch the match between the 15th and 40th over. With this change people will follow the sport more closely to see when the field restriction rules are enforced by the captains."

By getting on the wrong side of the selectors, the outspoken batsman lost more than a year-and-a-half of his playing career, which saw him miss the Indian Test series in Sri Lanka last year.

He has also shed close to 6-7 kilos and is fitter than before.

He credits the critics who picked on him through his bad phase for his steeled resolve to return to the game.

"As long as they criticize me I will keep playing. I will call it a day when I want to. That is what I want to do. I will fight until the end," he asserted.

Having captained the country in the 1992 World Cup, in Australia and New Zealand, Sri Lanka's finest stroke-player explained that when he was handed over the captaincy there were problems aplenty in the team.

"It was not a long stint. So I think it wasn't the best time for me. But later on it would have been an ideal opportunity. Now I have lost the chance to be captain again, but I am happy just being part of the team and guiding the youngsters in the squad."

Rubbishing the match-fixing allegations against him, DeSilva said he always had a clean image.

"I knew that I informed the board when there was an approach to me. Manoj Prabhakar had cleared the controversy when he said that he never introduced any bookie to me. When the approach was made I informed the officials and we had a team meeting that night in India. I told my story to the committee in Sri Lanka during the inquiry and came out clean."


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