Atapattu: No pressure to win India series
Sri Lanka head coach Marvan Atapattu is not expecting his team to win the ODI series against India, let alone whitewash it, saying he rather wants to see the fringe players get some experience in the long term.
The series was a last-minute one for the Sri Lankans, roped in during their off-season break after the West Indies abandoned their tour to India. They have had little time to prepare, and will be missing some big names.
Atapattu said of the trip: "A tour of India is a major challenge for any team and for any captain. To put huge pressure on ourselves to win is not that wise, at this stage.
"We know that if everyone is fit, that our World Cup team will be different. So with that in mind, we'll be thinking about who can be a part of the team going forward, and what individual players can get out of it.
"We play every game to win, but with that, we're also looking at the bigger picture. Like what can we expect from the players who are taking part? What is their ability?
"We have about 20 matches between now and the World Cup. That's about the number of ODI games some teams plays in a year. The challenge is to peak at the right time. Because we have 20 matches to go, we shouldn't become too concerned just yet."
In the bowling department alone, they'll be without Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Ajantha Mendis and Sachithra Senanayake. Malinga is injured, Rangana rested, Ajantha's mystery' being preserved and Senanayake banned.
Atapattu added: "We're missing our two best bowlers in Rangana and Lasith, but it's a good opportunity to see what the others can do. Not just for the bowlers but the batsmen as well – it's a chance for a lot of them to nail down a permanent place in the team."
There will also be heavy attention paid to openers Upul Tharanga and Kusal Perera, neither of whom have impressed recently, but this is their chance to stake their claim ahead of Australia/New Zealand.
Coach added: "The opening slot is something we'll definitely look at. That's why we're taking three openers on this tour. We need to look at Upul and Kusal.
"The preparation is not 100%, but we'll try and get our combinations right. That's what we are looking to get out of this tour. There are a few young players, so we will give them opportunities."
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