Sri Lanka Coach, Rumesh Ratnayake:
Looking forward to Sri Lanka’s cricket team playing a Tests series in Pakistan before the end of the year in December, Sri Lanka’s coach Rumesh Ratnayake said that he hoped this three-ODI and three-T20I series would encourage more Sri Lanka cricket players to tour Pakistan. Sri Lanka was originally scheduled to play two-match Test series in Pakistan which was then postponed because several first-team Sri Lanka players refused to come to Pakistan because of security concerns.
Rumesh Ratnayake said that this ODI and T20I series will be a precursor for the Test series against Pakistan in December. Ratnayaka further added that he is sure this will encourage the other players to make decisions, but he cannot force them, they have taken a decision and we have to respect that, but if things go well, this will be a huge step towards the future, not only for Sri Lanka but for all countries to be here in Pakistan.
Sri Lanka’s tour was affected by ten top Sri Lankan players refusing to tour Pakistan because of security concerns, resulting in Sri Lanka sending a slight inexperienced team to tour Pakistan. Sri Lanka’s head coach Rumesh Ratnayake said that the team’s preparations had not been that good. Regular afternoon rains during much of the past week hindered the Sri Lanka team’s ability to get proper training and practice sessions, and according to Sri Lanka’s coach, the rains in Sri Lanka had already hampered their ability to come here fully prepared.
Ratnayake said that even before they came to Pakistan, the preparations were hampered by rain and it seems as if it is raining in the whole world. Ratnayake revealed that Sri Lanka’s cricket team had only had a day’s training in the open, and today was the second day. Sri Lanka’s head coach further explained that the preparations had not been that good, but that is not going to be an excuse because they are all professional players. Ratnayake said that the people who have been selected for Sri Lanka’s team are challenged to do well and it is for their future also, so he hopes there will not be any rain to disturb the matches.
The rain is causing trouble for Pakistan’s side as well, after a week full of unseasonal rain in a city which is completely ill-equipped to deal with it and a hot humid weekend, Pakistani players are unable to practice in an ideal environment as well so that is also a factor that will play out during their matches against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s head coach Ratnayake is working towards several strategies to motivate his players for their upcoming matches against Pakistan, one of them included playing up to the image of Sri Lanka’s side as underdogs. Ratnayake said that there are many ways of motivating his team, one challenge is of facing Pakistan’s cricket team and we talked about the Pakistan team being Goliaths and Sri Lanka not. Rumesh Ratnayake explained that that is the sort of the way they are motivating Sri Lanka but they are professional players and he is sure that they will do whatever is needed to be done.
Ratnayake expressed that today, the challenge was from heat instead of the rain as it was very sunny but the focus was for the batsmen to get familiar with the sort of conditions they will face during the match and also ensuring that they train well enough today to be prepared for whatever comes their way in the future.
The entire Pakistan will be looking forward to seeing the international cricket return to the country, the people in Sri Lanka as well will be looking forward to seeing their team play against Pakistan.