For the eighth time in twelve, Sri Lanka has made the last four of a global cricket tournament. It is a record that would ordinarily please any nation were it not for the fact that not one of those appearances has translated into a trophy.
But Sri Lanka’s head coach Paul Farbrace, who was second-in-charge during the attack on the team bus in Lahore and was re-hired from Yorkshire on the recommendations of senior players last year, refuses to see it in an adverse light.
“You could look at it that way (that it’s psychological). You could also say they’ve done really well in most competitions and got to finals. That’s where teams want to be. We had a big win here in the Asia Cup a few weeks ago. The other night, a lot of people would’ve written us off at the halfway stage against New Zealand. Games like that give you so much confidence going into big games,” he said here on Wednesday.
Farbrace was speaking ahead of Sri Lanka’s ICC World Twenty20 semifinal meeting with West Indies at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium. The two teams had clashed in the final of the same competition two years ago, when West Indies secured a memorable win. They also played in a warm-up match here leading up to the tournament, when the Caribbeans again triumphed.
“Twenty20 is about whoever turns up on that particular day. Form goes out of the window. What happened two years ago won’t even be talked about, I can assure you,” he said.
The West Indies captain, Darren Sammy, meanwhile, reiterated that his men were focused on defending their crown.
“Guys could have wanted a day off after playing a game yesterday, but we are back practising and that shows how focused we are on defending our title. It’s something that no team has done before and we are very confident that we can do it,” he said. Sammy also had a word of warning for Sri Lanka. “The last final will be at the back of their mind; the practice game will be at the back of their mind,” he said. “Once the West Indies turn up, the West Indies are dangerous.”