India, Pakistan will be tough opponents in Asia Cup: Jayawardene

June 22nd, 2008 - 6:37 pm ICT by IANS  

By P. Karunakharan
Colombo, June 22 (IANS) Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene said Sunday he was aware of the stiff challenge his team would face from India and Pakistan in the Asia Cup matches starting this week. “We have had good preparations as it is an important cup to win. Both Indian and Pakistanis will be hard to beat,” Jayawardene said here Sunday morning ahead of the team’s departure for Lahore.

“We have been bolstered by the return of both Murali and Sanath,” the Sri Lankan skipper said on the return of the ageing veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan to the One Day International team.

Both stars were overlooked for the ODI series with the West Indies as the selectors opted for younger players in trying to rebuild the team.

Jayasuriya was included in the Asia Cup team after the left handed opener’s blistering showing for Mumbai Indians in the recently concluded Indian Premier League (IPL).

Ajantha Mendis, the young off spinning star in the making, and Mahela Udawatta, a left-handed opener in the Jayasuriya mould, have both been retained despite the return of the veterans Murali and Jayasuriya.

Dilhara Fernando, another Mumbai Indians player in the IPL, also returns to the national side after injuries sidelined him for a while.

Sri Lanka opens their Asia Cup campaign with a game against Bangladesh June 25.

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