Pallekele: When Hashan Tillakaratne made his international debut in 1989, Sri Lankan cricket was just beginning to carve an identity for itself. He has scored runs, taken wickets and kept wickets for Sri Lanka, as well as played a key role in his country's World Cup winning campaign in 1996. He spoke to Wisden India on Sri Lankan cricket's past, present and foreseeable future. Excerpts:
The 1996 World Cup win must be the greatest moment of your illustrious career …
Representing Sri Lanka in every game was an experience for me. Yes, the World Cup win was special, but for me every game was important. I enjoyed my cricket, and I believe I gave something to Sri Lankan cricket. I am very happy with what I achieved.
How much has Sri Lankan cricket developed over the years?
After 1996, cricket became a religion in Sri Lanka. All the kids want to play the game and they look up to the national players. The infrastructure has developed a lot since our playing days, and cricket is headed in the right direction as far as I can see.