Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews is confident his side can impress during the upcoming Champions Trophy tournament in the United Kingdom.
Sri Lankan players taking part in the latest edition of the 20-overs per side Indian Premier League tournament have largely struggled for form, with Mathews himself even giving up the captaincy of Pune Warriors.
Now they must adjust quickly to the very different conditions that will greet them in England and Wales when the Champions Trophy – a ‘mini World Cup’ featuring the world’s top eight teams in 50 overs per side one-day international cricket – gets underway next month.
Sri Lanka, however, have impressed in recent world limited overs tournaments, reaching four of the last six finals, including the 2009 World Twenty20 – the last major global cricket event in England – where they were beaten in a Lord’s final by Pakistan.
“It’s not even a concern when it comes to a tournament like this because they’ve been here, they’ve done it, and I have the confidence in them,” Mathews said on Tuesday in Birmingham, where Sri Lanka will play three practice matches against Pakistan, India and the West Indies at Edgbaston.
“I’m really proud to have these guys in my team because I can get a lot of information and help. I’m really happy to have them in the team.
“There has been a little bit of doubt – people keep saying that the boys in India haven’t had good preparation.
“But I want to write it off because we are professionals and we need to get prepared for this kind of tournament because it’s a huge event for everyone, personally and as a team.
“So I think we’ve done our preparation as a team and individually.”
Sri Lanka begin the tournament proper against New Zealand in Cardiff on June 9 before facing hosts England and Australia in their two group fixtures at The Oval in south London.
“Australia and New Zealand – they’re quite used to the conditions, especially in England, and with the two new balls, it’s going to be tough.
“But I think our boys are up for the challenge and if we want to go far in the tournament, I think we’ve got to beat all the teams that come our way.
Mathews added adapating to local conditions, even more than the different challenges posed by their group rivals, would be a key test for Sri Lanka. (The Post)