Want to control our destiny: Mahela
Brisbane, Feb 20: The CB series is evenly poised with each of the three teams in with a chance to make to the best-of-three finals. Riding on a hard-fought tie and a win off consecutive games, Sri Lanka are competing hard with the 2011 World Cup-winners and the No. 1 team in ODIs. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene is pleased with his team’s progress so far in the tournament. Excerpts from his pre-match press conference:
On the upcoming match against India being a big game for Sri Lanka
Like I said, every game is very important for us. We’ve till got four games left. Where we are [placed] right now [in the series], every game is important so that’s how we are going to look at it.
On the confidence in the side after the last two games
We didn’t have a good start but I think we have improved as a team every game. The last game [against Australia] was a good one but the important thing is to try and maintain that level of playing and improve in the areas where we can improve and be more consistent. That’s something that we can try and do in the next few games.
On whether the Sri Lankan bowlers had an edge against India seeing as how Brett Lee bowled here
I saw what happened [here in the Australia vs India match] but it was a fresh wicket. We are using the same wicket so I don’t know [how it will turn out] but I think our guys have been bowling pretty well. [They are] hitting good areas and adjusting to different surfaces so I feel they will give their best on this [wicket] as well. Until we play, it is difficult to say how it would fare.
On the role of the weather
I have heard a few stories but like I said, these are things I can’t control. We will just have a good game plan and try and execute that and if the weather intervenes, we will change our game plan accordingly. We’ll just go with a clear head and try and execute a good game plan.
On whether the team had injury concerns
Most of the guys are okay. A few niggles here and there but everyone is fine
On whether they were looking to overtake India on the points table
It’s a great opportunity for us and like I said, our goal is to get into the finals. Doesn’t matter who it is going to be in the finals but we will give it our best shot. There are four games left and rather than wait for the results, if we can control our destiny, that’s what we need to do.
On whether he was looking to prolong his career boosted by his return to captaincy
I’ll definitely lose a lot of my hair. Like I said, I am taking it a few months at a time and will see how it goes. I’ve taken the captaincy on for 12 months but it all depends on my form and whether I want to really push myself and whether I’m enjoying my cricket. I haven’t made long-term plans. I’ll see how it goes.
On MS Dhoni missing from the Indian squad in the upcoming match
He is in good form. He is a match-winner by himself [...]. Still, we are playing India. They have got some really big players and we can’t be complacent. We will focus on the entire Indian team and try and execute a good game plan.
On the problems faced by Sri Lankan cricket
Yes, we had some problems but it never interfered with our cricket; we went along. We never made any issues with our board. We worked together with them and tried to sort out the problems. It’s not just our payment; there are a lot of other things back home as well. They are trying to sort those things out. It was never a factor. We played some good cricket. We beat South Africa in South Africa for the first time so it wasn’t anything to do with that. Our focus has been on cricket and we will continue to do that and try and sort those problems off the field.
On India’s rotation policy
It is a tough question. You need to manage your players [and] at the same time you need to win matches as well – whatever is the priority. In modern cricket, we need to manage certain players. But like I said, I can’t speak for anybody else. Right now [I am] just concentrating on our team. We are trying to win matches and get into the finals. If you are in that situation maybe you can rotate players and give them a break but the priority, when you are playing a tournament, is to try and win as many matches as you can.
On opening the innings
We try to make tactical changes to see what fits for us. We made the move to make sure we got a good start which we never had in the first few games. That seemed to work, but you never know. I will see how it goes; I’ll try and get the right combination. We have got a good 14-15 players who we can pick depending on what combinations we are playing and against the opposition. With that we come up with a game plan and try and execute it so everyone is ready to play and everyone understands that policy. I have asked all the batsmen to be very flexible, batting at different positions. I think with the two new balls and given the Powerplays, everyone has to do that.