India captain MS Dhoni has said that the limited-overs series against Sri Lanka will help his team assess where they stand at the moment.
“It’s the start of the season for us,” Dhoni said on Wednesday, shortly after India had arrived in Colombo for the five ODIs and one-off Twenty20 against Sri Lanka. “There are certain areas where we’ve wanted to improve, where we’ve had a discussion saying these are the areas where we need to improve upon to consistently do well … This is a nice occasion to test how much we have improved and how much further we can actually improve on the field.”
India are coming off a month-and-a-half long break and looked keen to get back into action, heading for a practice session at the R Premadasa Stadium soon after checking in to their hotel. “Today we landed over here, and we were on the field close to 4.30 pm,” Dhoni said. “The good thing is the energy level is up, which means we can put in a bit more effort in the physical department and do a bit more active sports work.”
He said India will not be thinking too much about getting a feel of the conditions ahead the World Twenty20, which will be played in Sri Lanka in September, during this series. “What’s important is to be in the present, which means take this series into account not to think too much ahead about the World Twenty20. A good thing is most of the players who are part of this side will also be part of the Twenty20 side. We don’t really need to think ahead of time.”
Sri Lanka, meanwhile, need to build on their one-day and Test triumphs against Pakistan, according to captain Mahela Jayawardene. “We have just finished a series against Pakistan successfully and what is important is to continue with the good work,” Jayawardene said. “We have to work hard to reach the goals we want to attain.
“It’s a good opportunity against India. We need to take the team forward. We have brought in a few new players for the one-day side, and we have to think about the World Twenty20 and which of these players will be suitable for that competition.”
The series, which begins in Hambantota on Saturday, will not feature the Decision Review System (DRS). Sri Lanka Cricket secretary Nishantha Ranatunga said this was since India, as has been their stance all through, did not want the system in place. “As per the ICC guidelines, both teams have got to agree in having the DRS,” Ranatunga said. “As far as the Indian board is concerned they are not in favour of that. That was a decision taken at ICC level.”
Both teams will leave for Hambantota on Thursday. (ESPN Cricinfo)