Sri Lanka’s presence in England has been a silent affair so far. There are very few discussing them as the spotlight hovers over the stronger teams, the ‘tournament favourites’.
For the neutral, Sri Lanka does not look like they have a chance here. Their current form isn’t great and they have been pitted in a group that features two of their Asian rivals India and Pakistan and South Africa – the team against whom they will play their opening encounter of the ICC Champions Trophy on Saturday.
The Proteas clearly start as the better team. South Africa are number one in ICC Rakings while Sri Lanka is seventh. The AB de Villiers led side has four batsmen and two bowlers in top ten individual rankings while Sri Lanka has no one.
However, the Sri Lankan team’s Cricket Manager Asanka Gurusinha believes that the presence of former great Allan Donald gives the team a lot of technical and mental advantage over the opposition.
“We have done a lot of planning ahead of the game. With Allan Donald, we have spent a lot of time discussing South Africa players. He knows a lot of stuff about the South Africans. Not only the technical side but even mentally, how they react to situations. We have worked on all those things and we are looking forward to the first game,” Gurusinha told Cricbuzz.
Donald is on a brief stint with Sri Lanka as their fast bowling coach and has been working with the Sri Lankans for a month now. Gurusinha is expecting strong performances from his bowlers.
“When we decided to get Allan on board, it wasn’t just to coach people but to pick his mind on bowling and get some idea on opposition sides. He has a lot of knowledge and has worked with quite a few international teams. He is giving tips and even today he had a fine meeting for the bowlers,” Gurusinha added.
While Sri Lanka may be on the sidelines from being favourites as of now, they cannot be written off completely. The side, which was been undergoing massive transition, can use this platform to create a turnaround after a couple of poor outings in the ODI format.
The biggest gain for Sri Lanka in the last few week has been in the form of fast bowler Lasith Malinga. The right arm fast bowler was absent from ODI cricket since November 2015 due to a knee injury and his comeback will boost the Lankans attack greatly.
“Lasith is very keen to play again. He is actually running our bowling group meetings. He is so involved and wants to win this tournament,” Gurusinha explained.
After the South Africa clash, Sri Lanka will take on India on 8th of June at The Oval and will play Pakistan on the 12th June at the same venue.
The preparations have been great so far. Sri Lanka arrived in England early and had a couple of matches scheduled against Scotland followed by the Champions Trophy warm-up games against Australia and New Zealand, respectively.
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June 2, 2017 at 05:29AM