Newly appointed National T20I skipper Kusal Perera once again emphasized that Sri Lanka need to play a fearless brand of cricket, if they are to succeed.
Upon being appointed ODI captain ahead of the Tour of Bangladesh last month, Perera brought out the thought that playing ‘fearless cricket’ would help Sri Lanka get of the rut they are in, in international cricket. However, that didn’t quite work in Bangladesh, as the Tigers dominated Sri Lanka in the 1st two ODIs in the 3-match series, before Sri Lanka managed a win in the 3rd.
Speaking to the press ahead of the 1st T20I against England in Cardiff, Perera reiterated Sri Lanka’s goal to be fearless when on the field. “We must be able to play fearless cricket. I said this on day one too, but that doesn’t mean we can change things overnight.”
Perera indicated that both he and the coaching staff are focusing on trying to ascertain how players can translate their good performances in training to matches when under pressure. “That’s something we have been discussing with the coaches too. Each player is different, so we need to figure out how their minds work and how to get them to do what they do well in practices in the matches as well.”
If the intra-squad warm-up game is anything to go by, the Sri Lankan batting could be on the right track as both teams crossed the 200-run mark in the match held last week. Openers Perera and Danushka Gunathilake were in ruthless form – a good sign, though the middle order has been the worry for the Sri Lankans in the recent past.
The Sri Lankan Selectors’ decision to leave out a number of more established players in limited overs cricket, has left the team a little short of experience, however, it has also allowed for the inclusion of some young players, who may not be as burdened by the team’s dip in form over the past couple of years.
In England, the Number 1 ranked T20I side in the World, they will have a formidable opponent, but Perera is confident that his team will be able to be competitive on the tour.
“Where we are at right now, we have nothing to lose. But England will have some pressure on them. When playing good sides, we always want to bring our ‘A’ game, because performing against good sides, gives you confidence. We believe that we can do something significant here.”
Sri Lanka will face England in the 1st and 2nd T20Is at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on the 23rd and 24th of June, before traveling to Southampton for the 3rd game on the 26th.
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