Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Sri Lanka chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has admitted that he is not satisfied with the national team’s preparation for the World Cup.
Jayasuriya’s comments come after Sri Lanka allowed New Zealand to take an unassailable 4-1 lead in the ongoing ODI series.
“I am not very happy the way things are going out there in New Zealand,” Jayasuriya said. “There are areas to be improved and in the next few weeks I hope we can sort them out. There are aspects to improve every day. The only good thing is that we are playing in New Zealand and against the same opposition we will meet in our opening match of the World Cup.
“It’s a good advantage for us to play here in these conditions which are tough. We have almost two months here playing Tests and ODIs to settle down and to play against the same country is a big advantage.”
Jayasuriya pointed out that one of Sri Lanka’s biggest problems at the moment is the amount of runs being conceded by the bowling attack.
“The bowling department is an area of concern. They need to plan for things they should do when it comes to a crunch situation,” he said. “We lack experience in our bowling at the moment in the absence of Lasith Malinga which is huge. (Nuwan) Kulasekera and (Suranga) Lakmal have come back from injuries and are bowling alright.”
However, Jayasuriya revealed that he is relieved pace bowler Lasith Malinga is on track to be fully fit before the World Cup begins.
“Lasith started to bowl about 30 balls yesterday and today also he was bowling. He has shown no signs of discomfort and he will be increasing his workload gradually,” he said. “I think he will be alright for the World Cup.”
Jayasuriya also wants to see all-rounders Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera contributing regularly with both the bat and ball.
“Jeevan Mendis and Thisara Perera need to contribute more,” he said. “They need to concentrate on their bowling a little bit more. When they don’t bowl well the confidence in their batting goes. Legspin is vital and if Jeevan can bowl six-seven overs it will be crucial for us. It’s not a very big issue but if they work hard they can come back.”
Jayasuriya also hinted that Lahiru Thirimanne may open the batting for Sri Lanka during the World Cup following Dimuth Karunaratne’s failure to have an impact. In the ongoing ODI series against New Zealand, Karunaratne has made scores of 5, 21, 5, 12 and 26.
“Our earlier option was for Mahela to open if one of the openers was not firing,” Jayasuriya said. “I don’t want to touch Mahela at No. 4 where he has settled down nicely and is playing a long innings.
“Lahiru is playing in the lower middle-order and not getting opportunities so we thought of opening with him and if he can prove himself we can get him to open and work the batting line-up from there onwards with (Dinesh) Chandimal taking Thirimanne’s slot in the [middle] order.”
With Sri Lanka already having lost the ODI series, Jayasuriya has now focussed his attention on the national team’s chances of winning the World Cup.
“I am not too worried about the result of the ODI series against New Zealand but (we have to) put things that need to be put right like the bowlers and the lower middle-order,” he said. “The next two-three weeks are crucial to work on our specific areas before the World Cup. I hope that when the World Cup starts everything will be in place.”