Chandimal targets top spot for Sri Lanka


Newly appointed Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal has said that he would like to steer Sri Lanka to the pinnacle of the Test rankings.

The wicketkeeper batsman did however concede that it will take time for his team to get there.

Chandimal was appointed Test captain earlier this week with former Skipper Angelo Mathews stepping down from the role.

Luckily Chandimal will still be able to pick the former skipper’s brains as he continues to form an integral part of the Sri Lanka team.

Chandimal said ahead of the one-off Test against Zimbabwe in Galle: “My final goal is to take the team to No. 1 in the world.

“But we can’t do that in one day or one year. We have to work hard with our cricket to get there. We have young players, and we have to give them experience along the way. We have to take it step by step – go to No. 6 first, then No. 5 and so on. We have a long way to go.”

The skipper believes that veteran spinner Rangana Herath will give them the edge over Zimbabwe who upset the hosts 3-2 in the five match ODI series.

Herath has claimed 93 Test scalps at Galle and will test the Zimbabwe batsmen’s ability against Spin.

Chandimal added: “The Zimbabwe batsmen, in particular, played very well during the five ODIs, and we can’t underestimate them.

“But we do have Rangana Herath in our Test team, who is an extremely experienced player. We also have Dilruwan Perera. I don’t think we will let Zimbabwe get into rhythm too easily. We have plans against them, and we have good spinners. So I’m hoping we can bowl well and restrict them.”

The new skipper has targeted fielding as an area for immediate improvement.

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He went on: “I’ve thought about how we became so weak in fielding, and tried to work out how we can fix it. I talked with the coaches as well. Even in training, if we catch 100 flat catches, 100 high catches, and 100 ground fielding balls, the pressure that we have in the game is missing.

“I talked to the coaches and told them that what I want is to do those drills under something similar to match pressure. Then we have a target and feed off each other’s energy. In the last few days that’s what we did. I think we’ll be able to improve a lot in our fielding with those measures.”

Chandimal will not take the gloves in Galle handing the responsibility over to dynamic young batsman Niroshan Dickwella.

He said: “Dickwella is in form in ODIs and is a young player, and we also have to push him forward as someone who will improve our cricket.

“He will probably do the job most times. But I will also consider the team’s balance, and am prepared to keep. For this match he will probably keep.”