Mumbai, Nov 3: In recent times, the India-Sri Lanka matchup in ODIs has ended up in the hosts’ winning the games, majorly of which came in a one-sided manner. In September, India beat Sri Lanka by 10 wickets in the Asia Cup final in September and, at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday, the hosts’ thrashed the visitors’ by 302 runs.
Despite the crushing defeat to India in the ongoing World Cup, Sri Lanka assistant coach Naveed Nawaz does not see the side’s performance in the tournament as a decline of Sri Lankan cricket.
“It's a cause of concern for sure, but I don't see it as the decline of Sri Lanka cricket. We've got a young group of players; we've got only a few guys who have played over 100 ODIs here in this group as well.”
“So, it's a rebuilding stage where a couple of new players are still learning the trade I would say. We have some exciting prospects back home and also in this group and I hope they'll take every opportunity to learn from the mistakes done and move forward and do well in the future. So that's the only hope that we have,” he said in the post-match press conference.
With the semi-finals hopes now more or less over, Nawaz said Sri Lanka's goal in their two remaining World Cup matches will be to qualify for the 2025 Champions Trophy. “It's going to be important that we finish above the eight to qualify for champions trophy. We've got to find a factor to motivate the boys and keep them alive because we had the same issue in June when we played the World Cup qualifiers.”
“So, there was no guarantee when we went into Zimbabwe to qualify for the World Cup. We had to win all our games and as well we came to the finals to qualify for this tournament. So, I guess we've crossed that barrier and we've got a pretty young team as I told you before. So, we will get back and we will get the boys motivated and get back in and somehow see what we can do in the next two games, try, and bring out our best cricket.”
With India’s fast-bowling trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Mohammed Siraj getting the ball to talk in a sensational bowling display, Nawaz gave the credit to them for their great showing and rued the lack of fight showed by the Sri Lankan batters in the match.
“Shami, Bumrah, and Siraj, all three consistently hit the right areas and executed their deliveries effectively, resulting in the swing they generated. It appeared that our players didn't handle the challenges presented by the bowlers effectively.”
“They didn't respond well to the problems posed by the opposition bowlers, especially when facing the swinging ball. It's essential for our players to find ways to handle the mental pressure, particularly in situations where our wickets are falling rapidly due to the swinging ball. But they were unable to do it,” he concluded. (IANS)