April 3, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s defeated cricket team returned home Sunday to calls from the state-run media demanding a probe into “blunders right from the start”. “Who picked the final XI of the Sri Lanka team for the World Cup final against India?” the Sunday Observer asked.
It questioned the dropping of spinner Ajantha Mendis in favour of Suraj Randiv who failed to impress after only joining the squad as an injury replacement on Friday.
The Observer also questioned the wisdom of playing an injured Muttiah Muralitharan, the ace spinner, who was retiring after Saturday’s game.
“Was it advisable playing a half-fit Muralitharan?” the state-run paper said.
“Winning the mega-final is much more important than giving a farewell tribute to even a great cricketer of Muralitharan’s magnitude.”
Religious leaders who welcomed Kumar Sangakkara’s team at the Bandaranaike International airport said they were disappointed with the loss, but urged dejected cricket lovers to spare the national team.
Sangakkara defended the team selection and said he had fielded the best possible players and insisted they had “played well”.