Sri Lanka to arrive tomorrow to play ‘fearless cricket’

The Daily Star  May 15, 2021

The Sri Lankan cricket team will arrive in Dhaka tomorrow morning to take part in a three-match ODI series against Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka will be the second team to play an international series in Bangladesh after the West Indies, who had visited earlier this year for a two-match Test and three-match ODI series since the pandemic upset the international schedules.

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“We have to play fearless cricket. Can’t be playing to protect your place in the side. When you do that you don’t give 100 percent. What I am telling the team is to give your best and that will work in crunch situations,” Sri Lanka’s Kusal Janith Perera told local media after he was appointed captain for the tour.

Sri Lanka on Wednesday sacked one-day captain Dimuth Karunaratne, who led from the front to win the two-match Test series by 1-0 at home recently, and dropped him and a host of other big names from the squad heading for Bangladesh. Two other former skippers — Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal — were also dropped along with Suranga Lakmal and Nuwan Pradeep. Kusal Perera has been named as the new captain, with Kusal Mendis as his deputy.

“What I want is to create a winning culture. Fear of losing is not going to help us and we need to adopt a brand of cricket where we play fearless cricket. Personally, I have been successful batting fearlessly and I want the team to follow the same method. We won’t be hundred percent successful, but the important thing is that we need to be positive,” added the new Sri Lankan skipper.

The visitors will be quarantined in their rooms for three days before the start of training sessions from May 19 at the BCB Academy ground in Mirpur. The Sri Lankan team will take part in a practice game on May 21 at the BKSP before facing Bangladesh in the first ODI on May 23. The second and third games are scheduled for May 25 and 28 respectively, with all matches being held under lights at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur.

Bangladesh so far played 48 one-day internationals against Sri Lanka and won only seven matches. Four of those wins came at home.

In their last ODIs in Bangladesh in January 2018, Sri Lanka defeated the Tigers by 10 wickets and 79 runs respectively after suffering a heavy 163-run defeat during the tri-nation tournament. Sri Lanka became champions in the tournament where Zimbabwe was the other team.

Bangladesh selectors have already announced a 23-member preliminary squad for the series. The cricketers will resume training after Eid break on May 18.