New Delhi: Sri Lanka's chief selector Aravinda de Silva has spoken of his tough decision in omitting fellow 1996 World Cup winners Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas from the squad.
All three players were in the team that beat Australia to lift the trophy for the first time in Pakistan 15 years ago but de Silva said he could not justify including the two veterans in the 15-man squad for the 2011 tournament.
"It was a very difficult decision and a very emotional moment for me when it was decided that Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas have to be left out from the World Cup squad," he wrote in the Times of India.
"They've been my teammates for such a long (time) and they are such fabulous players with great records. But at the end of the day, as a selector, I have to do the right thing. I have to pick 15 of the best available players on current form.
"Taking that into account, I don't think it would have been possible to include them."
Hard-hitting batsman Jayasuriya, 41, has notched 13,428 runs and taken 322 wickets in 444 one-day internationals but last played in an ODI in 2009. Left-arm paceman Vaas, 37, has taken 400 wickets in 322 one-day internationals, last appearing in 2008.
Both players were included in Sri Lanka's preliminary 30-man squad for the World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, which starts on Saturday.
De Silva said the tournament was evenly poised with all the top teams in with a chance to lift the trophy, adding that Sri Lanka, among the favourites, had a good chance.
De Silva scored 107 not out and took 3-42 as Sri Lanka beat Australia by seven wickets in the 1996 final in Lahore.