Family deaths hit Sri Lanka curtain raiser

February 17, 2011 (AFP) – Sri Lankan batsman Chamara Silva is likely to miss his team’s opening World Cup match, due to a death in his family, an official said Thursday. Sri Lanka, the 1996 champions and 2007 runners-up, face Canada in their first match at the newly-built Mahinda Rajapakse Stadium in the southern town of Hambantota on Sunday.

The team will later take on Pakistan, Kenya, defending champions Australia, Zimbabwe and New Zealand in their Group A matches.

Thomas said it was immediately unclear if Silva will feature in the first match, as his sister’s funeral arrangements have been tentatively fixed for the weekend.

He said the team will leave Colombo on Friday to travel to Hambantota. Silva lives in Panadura, just south of Colombo. Silva left the team hotel in Colombo early Thursday, shortly after his elder sister Nelum Anusha Silva passed away, Sri Lanka media manager Brian Thomas said.

Team manager Anura Tennakoon’s father, P.B. Tennakoon, also passed away early Thursday, Thomas said. The funeral takes place on Thursday.

Tennakoon is currently in Dhaka attending the opening ceremony of the World Cup that is co-hosted by India, Sri L