Marvan Atapattu: Lasith Malinga is an asset to the team

On Sunday, an injury plagued Sri Lankan side fought hard against Australia at Sydney in a pool A game in the on going ICC Cricket World Cup 2015. Sri Lanka now play Scotland in their last league match at Hobart on Wednesday and ahead of the match, coach Marvan Atapattu spoke to the media. (ICC Cricket World Cup 2015: Points Table)

Q: Playing Scotland, most of us believe Sri Lanka will win.
Marvan Atapattu (MA): In every game, that is innate in the competition that we’re going to play proper teams, play our best cricket and play it across the ropes. It will be no different than what we do tomorrow.

Q: Given the different conditions in Australia from what you’re accustomed to. Are you pleased you saw another subcontinent team qualify for the World Cup quarterfinals in such fantastic fashion last night?
MA: It was nice to see them getting in, and obviously the people are getting more advised to conditions like this, and Australia’s not the worst place to play. We’ve got real good wickets, a fast outfield and people enjoy it. 300 scores being chased is all that you’re seeing in this tournament.

Q: Could you just give an update on Dinesh Chandimal’s situation, and has Upul Tharanga been entered now?
MA: Chandimal will be out, and Upul will be in for the rest of the tournament.

Q: How much analysis have you done on before this game? Was it on video or how are you preparing for a team you haven’t really played before?
MA: Obviously, it’s less footage for obvious reasons, but we’ve been fortunate to watch a few games of them playing other opponents. That’s always good. I still believe that come the day you’ve got to get on the pitch and the wicket, start a new game all over again, and start from scratch. That is the most important thing, and going on with the situations, and then you play accordingly. That is how we win games of cricket.

Q: There is one game remaining, less pressure. So how are you going to take the chances with the players who haven’t played a game right now? Like any chances for players like him?
MA: We’re going to keep everybody in contention for selection, at the same time going ahead, and going into the A-team regardless of whoever we choose to play on the day. We just have got to have a rough idea in whom you want to play in the combination. Thinking about that, we’ll select inside along with the selectors.

Q: Sri Lanka has given away a lot of runs in the back of an innings. Just wondering what are your thoughts on the combination? And there’s been lots of talk about playing more bowlers, what are your thoughts on that?
MA: I think it will not only be in common with us, it’s been common with most of the sides, even the Australians, whom I think have one of the best attacks. It is that way that the format is being structured with the five over power plays, starting from the 36, and then having wickets in hand, you basically play one-fourth of a 20 Twenty, and if you have wickets in hand, it’s amazing. Having said that, it’s about executing your skills and knowing your plans is what matters, and that gives you the best chance. Doesn’t guarantee you that you can go for six runs and over, but that will give you the best chance. We’ll try to sort of do better in matches to come.

Q: Bangladesh-New Zealand could be a washout definitely. Assuming you win tomorrow, how key is it that you could be equal in points with Bangladesh in that case? Have you thought about all of this stuff?
MA: No, obviously, first off our focus has to be in the game tomorrow. That’s our first objective. I mean that could be, could not be. You never know. As I said, you try to win the game, see what best that you can do after starting the game. Obviously, if you have a chance to win the game in a convincing way, you take that option. But our prior objective here is to win a game of cricket so we can get some confidence out of the gametomorrow.

Q: Many of your team members played here before. Have you looked at the pitch, and what do you think of it so far?
MA: It’s a great venue. Even the last game it was a 300 run chase that Zimbabwe got there almost, and looked like I can’t see any difference in it. You’ve still got to respect your opponent, respect the good bowlers that come along. They have the good shot and play our best cricket on the day. Upsets still can happen. It’s the nature of the competition, and all these so-called venues are not really news in a competition like this. It’s bilateral. If you miss a chance or miss a catch or something like that, that could be the match. So you’ve got to guard against complacency and just play our best cricket.

Q: Lasith Malinga, obviously is quite crucial to your campaign. Have you been encouraged by the way he’s coming on over the last few weeks with his match?
MA: He’s been brilliant in the last game especially. There are big game players and he’s one of those. He is a great asset to the team and the bowling.

Q: What is the status of Lahiru Thirimanne’s finger injury?
MA: Stitches. They are hoping to get the stitches off by tomorrow. He’s been doing his fitness, and he’s on his fitness regime back from the day that he got injured. He’ll start to go probably on 13. Maybe get to Sydney. That will give him at least four days before the quarterfinals and make a decision there.

Courtesy: ICC