Sri Lankan cricketers were the cynosure of all eyes as the country’s High Commission in New Delhi hosted a reception in their honour on the eve of their 3rd test against India at the Feroze Shah Kotla grounds in the Capital.

Sri Lankan skipper Dinesh Chandimal and his teammates appeared relaxed as they posed for selfies with their fans and savoured rich Indian and Mughlai dishes. Among the nearly 100 people present at the gathering were senior BJP leaders Udit Raj and Vijay Jolly, Pakistan High Commissioner Sohail Mahmood and diplomats from cricket-playing nations, media personnel, cricket enthusiasts and the mission staff.

Speaking on the occasion, Sri Lankan High Commissioner Chitranganee Wagiswara said the country’s cricket team was passing through a transition stage since some of the stalwarts like Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene had retired. She said this team has some of the most talented youngsters in its ranks and expressed confidence that it would emerge on top in the 2019 World Cup. Team Manager Asanka Gurusinghe was also confident of the squad doing well in the coming days.

Observing that cricket was like a religion in South Asia, Wagiswara said whenever she went to markets in India and introduced herself as the Lankan envoy, people would start talking about leading Lankan cricketers like Sanath Jayasuriya and Bollywood actor Jacqueline Fernandez, who too hails from the island nation.

A senior diplomat from Ireland was quite excited as he introduced himself to the Lankan cricketers. He said the people in Ireland were keenly looking forward to the national cricket team playing its debut cricket test against Pakistan near Dublin in May next year.