Paarl: Sri Lanka on Tuesday requested the national selectors to fly in a standby for injured fast bowler Pulasthi Gunaratne whose World Cup hangs in the balance. Gunaratne broke the index finger in the right hand while fielding during Sri Lanka's opening match against New Zealand at Bloemfontein on February 10. Sri Lanka won that match and then defeated Bangladesh to emerge Group 'B' leaders with eight points.
Gunaratne will also miss the next two matches against Canada and Kenya, but captain Sanath Jayasuriya said the seamer had a "50-50" chance of playing in the key game against the West Indies at Cape Town on February 28. Gunaratne will not be withdrawn from the team, but a stand-by has been requested to fly in by this weekend to acclimatise to the conditions. "We want the replacement to be ready to play if Gunaratne cannot play," said Sri Lankan team manager Ajith Jayasekera.
"We will not withdraw Gunaratne till we are certain he cannot play at all, so we will have to bear the expenses of the additional player." Sri Lanka may consider bringing in left-arm seamer Nuwan Zoysa, although Chamila Gamage, Sujeewa de Silva and Thilina Thushara are also available for selection. The Sri Lankans play Canada at the Boland Park on Wednesday.
| Copyright AFP 2001 |