They may not have of an ideal preparation for the stop-gap five-ODI series against India but Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews said that the short tournament would give the team’s think-tank an opportunity to assess the bench strength ahead of next year’s World Cup.
“There can be both positives and negatives. To look at the positives, this a chance to get our combination right and look at some of the guys who we think can be part of the World Cup,” Mathews said on the eve of the opening ODI between India and Sri Lanka here.
“The confidence level is going to be the main factor. We have played pretty good cricket in the past six months and the confidence level is very high. We are giving opportunities to our bench strength and also see that we keep the winning momentum going. It’s about balancing both the things,” he added.
On the absence of some of the key players like Lasith Malinga and Rangana Herath, Mathews said, “Malinga is injured but Rangana is not injured. We left him out because we wanted to have a look at Suraj Randiv, Chaturanga de Silva and also Seekunge Prasanna. We need to look at these three whom we think have a lot of chances going into the World Cup.”
Asked if he was worried about an under par performance with an inexperienced side, the captain said, “We are looking to give some of our guys a go. We know some of our guys are injured and Sachitra is doing remedial work. Few of the best players are not here. But if something happens in coming months like somebody is injured we want to make sure that we’ve got a back-up ready.
“We need to look at a positive way regardless of winning or losing,” Mathews explained.
Mathews insisted that his team was fully ready for tomorrow’s game.
“As soon as we got to know we are coming to India we had to change our plans. We were concentrating on our fitness and all that had to change. We need to adapt as soon as possible.
“We had a week of training and we have tried to prepare as much as we can. And I am pretty sure that the boys are ready for tomorrow’s game,” said Mathews.
“I am not here to make excuses. We are here to play good cricket. We were a bit rusty in the practice game but we hope to get that right starting in the first game,” he concluded.