Resting stars leave Sri Lanka fans fuming

April 17, 2007 (AFP) – Sri Lankan cricket fans Tuesday expressed frustration and disappointment over their team’s tactics in resting top players for the World Cup clash against Australia. Sri Lanka, already assured of a place in the semi-finals, kept out star bowlers Chaminda Vaas and Muttiah Muralitharan for the Super Eights match in Grenada on Monday, which Australia won by seven wickets.

Buoyed by the team’s excellent showing in the tournament so far, fans had eagerly awaited victory over Australia, the favourites to win their third consecutive World Cup title.

Mumtaz Begum, a female fan, said: “I can’t believe they rested Vaas and Murali against a tough team like Australia. The loss will hit the morale of our team.”

“They should go on a holiday if they needed rest. World Cup comes only once in four years,” said another disappointed fan Saman Priyantha.

Stanley Weerasinghe, a veteran watcher of Sri Lankan cricket, said, “whatever the tactics, the end result is that we have lost badly.”

“Australia are the top team in the world. You have to respect your opponents and play your best team in a tournament like the World Cup.”

Taxi driver Ranjith Priyanth