“We are very happy to have the services of our SLC overall cricket consultant Sanath Jayasuriya, fielding coach Upul Chandana, and batting coach Thilina Kandamby. All three are great past cricketers who know each other very well, working closely, providing much-needed boost to our team,” said Sri Lanka’s new ODI skipper Kusal Mendis at the pre-match press conference for the Zimbabwe ODI series which will begin at the R.Premadasa Stadium at 2.30 pm today.
“We had some rough patches in the last World Cup, but in the last two weeks, we all have been getting much-needed training to focus on this Zimbabwe series. Our fielding and batting have been more focused with the coaches, and before today’s first game, we are confident to play against Zimbabwe,” said Mendis.
“Our key spinner Wanindu Hasaranga will most probably play after the first 2 ODIs, while spinners like Jeffrey Vandersay and Akila Dananjaya are back in the squad. We have openers Pathum Nissanka and Avishka Fernando, and most of the time, I will bat at number three, as in the last World Cup. Dasun Shanaka who had an injury and was not among the runs at the World Cup, once again proved his batting ability at the recent Major Clubs Limited Overs Cricket Tournament. He will bat in the middle over at number 6-7, and our batting and bowling are in good nick, while fielding was not up to expectations. We all work hard to improve our fielding during this Zimbabwe series,” said Mendis.
“Captaincy is nothing new for me and it’s not any pressure for me, but I was not in good touch during the last World Cup and want to come back strongly. We know Zimbabwe is a good team, but we played recently against most of the players and hope to give a good challenge this time. We never underestimate any opponent while making plans to win the game,” added Mendis.
Zimbabwe Skipper aims for strong battle against Sri Lanka
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine said: “They had a practice session on Thursday as well as yesterday afternoon’s session at this same venue (the R. Premadasa), and hope to make a good battle against Sri Lanka. After I missed the last Ireland series due to injury, I am excited to play this Sri Lanka match series, while my team members are well-prepared for this.”
“Sikandar Raza, the T-20 skipper, who is also a member of the ODI series, and myself are two experienced players in the side. , and all our teammates are confident to play against Sri Lanka, he said.
“Playing against Sri Lanka on their home ground conditions is not an easy task, and we have to give a good battle. We failed to qualify for the World Cup, and we are eager to bounce back with consistent performances. Following this ODI series, we will compete in the T20 series under the leadership of Sikandar Raza,” added Ervine.
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