Sri Lankan cricket team head coach Mickey Arthur on Sunday admitted that batting was one of the main shortcomings of the side as it embarks on the tour of the UAE and Oman to compete in the ICC T20 World Cup scheduled to commence later this month.
“Actually, our players have been working very hard these days. In those few days (of training) we had the opportunity to play in three practice matches where we trained very well in batting," said Arthur ahead of the team’s departure on Sunday.
The Sri Lankan team led by Dasun Shanaka will leave for the World Cup on Sunday night and will play a couple of warm-up matches against Oman ahead of the mega event. It is no secret that the Sri Lankan team is leaving for the World Cup without too many wins under their belt. They lost the three-match T20I series against South Africa in September 3-0 after winning the T20 series against India. The weakness of the batsmen became a major factor in those defeats against the Proteas.
But before leaving for the World Cup, Arthur has said the team is in a positive frame of mind. The team has participated in a nine-day training camp targeting the World Cup, during which the players were able to focus on the team’s mistakes and find solutions.
Despite Arthur’s positive comments, Sri Lanka have lost 22 of the last 30 internationals they have played. The by-product of those defeats was that Sri Lanka had to play in a qualifying round to qualify for the main tournament.
The Sri Lankan team will play the first match against Oman on October 7 and the second on October 9 and will then return to the United Arab Emirates. Before the World Cup qualifiers, Sri Lanka will play two warm-up matches against Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea.
Arthur said he hopes to make some changes to the batting order at the World Cup. “Actually we took steps to change the batting order and if our guys get (it) right, it will give us a good chance," he said.
Commenting on Kusal Perera, one of Sri Lanka’s leading batsmen, Arthur said that although the player was recovering from his injury, the management was giving him more time to recover. “He (Perera) had played in the training match held yesterday (Oct 2) which was the last day of Kusal training. Due to this, it will be uncertain whether Kusal will play in the training matches against Oman."
Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera are playing in the IPL. Due to their participation in the tournament, they will miss the opportunity to play the two training matches against Oman. But with 20 more players left in the squad, the opportunity to compete will be open to them.