Captain Lasith Malinga has hailed the improved fitness of Sri Lanka's bowlers and consistency in selection, ahead of this month's T20I series against the West Indies.
The Sri Lankans beat the West Indies three-nil in the preceding ODI series. They will contest two T20Is at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium. The hosts are priced at 2.00 and the tourists 1.80 by bet365 to win the series opener on Wednesday.
“When you start winning matches, the bad things in our game seem to get erased, and the good things are noticeable. That's the situation now, which I'm happy about. Fitness wise, a bowler should be able to bowl four or five overs. And when a bowler goes to the middle, he should be able to complete that game without getting injured,” said Malinga.
“We've seen that from our players now. They bowl, and they run hard, and they dive. Angelo Mathews bowled 10 overs for the first time in years. Those things have improved. I'm sure it will continue. These are the results of many months of hard work. The new coaches have come in and helped with that.
“If a team is to win, you need at least seven players playing somewhere near their best. We saw that in the ODI series – lots of great individual performances influenced the result. For a while we didn't have batsmen who could get among the runs frequently enough, and they weren't finishing games. But now their mentality has come good. I'm hoping they'll keep playing well in the T20s.”
Malinga on consistency
Sri Lanka‘s head coach is Mickey Arthur, who previously worked with South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. He works closely with chief selector Ashantha de Mel.
“There's a new coaching style here now. This is a time when players get to consistently play. Because of that consistency in selection, players have got self-confidence about their place in the team. I think over the next three to four matches we will get a team that is unafraid to take risks. That's my hope,” concluded Malinga.
“The selectors and team management feel this is the best 15 T20 players in the country, so I don't think it should be a big problem to give them matches consistently.”