India’s bowling attack makes the opposition envious and Sri Lanka head coach Chris Silverwood on Wednesday minced no words in admitting that any team in the world would want to have a line-up like that.
At the same time, he also hoped that his team puts together a combined show in their World Cup clash here on Thursday.
India will face Sri Lanka in what seems to be a lop-sided contest already, with the World Cup hosts topping the points table with six wins on the trot. On the other hand, Sri Lanka are languishing in the bottom half of the table, placed at the seventh spot at the moment.
“If you look at that bowling attack and you watch them operate, it is a very strong bowling attack. I think any team in the world would want an attack like that, to be honest,” Silverwood told the media here during the team’s training session.
“But we see that as a great challenge for our guys. We see it as an opportunity to go out and play against the best and see, I mean, pit ourselves against that. But there is no hiding it is a very good bowling attack,” Silverwood said.
The Sri Lanka coach was hopeful that his team will draw inspiration from their last meeting with India in the final of the Asia Cup in Colombo, wherein the hosts were shot out for a mere 50 with India recording a massive 10-wicket win.
“I would rather hope that the defeat in the Asia Cup would give more motivation to the boys to come out and obviously fight, show plenty of spirit and get stuck in to the Indian side,” Silverwood said.
“They are a very good side we know that we have seen them play some superb cricket this tournament so far. But I think it is a good opportunity for our boys to show what they are made of as well. Hopefully, the defeat in the Asia Cup will give motivation to the boys,” he added.
An India-Sri Lanka contest here at the Wankhede Stadium rekindles the memories of the final of the 2011 World Cup and Silverwood saw another source of inspiration in that as well.
“The boys are very aware of the history. Obviously, players do talk about past history of their team as well and the results that they have had,” he said.
“We walked in and the first thing you do is go, ‘wow, this is a great place to play cricket’. And when you stood out in the middle, you get that sort of goose bumps. So, for me, there’s plenty of things out there to motivate them to go perform in front of what will be a packed house tomorrow as well,” Silverwood added.
Silverwood also defended his players Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka who have not been among runs regularly and their failures have added more to the pressure on the batting group.
“We know they have bags of experience in their locker and we have seen both of them score runs at various points. It is like any game of cricket, not everybody will perform all the time, but what we do need is people to put their hands up, and at times it will be their time to do that as well,” he said.
“But thankfully we do have a few people that are in form. I mean Kusal (Mendis) has played some super knocks here, Sadeera (Samarawickrama) has been Mr Consistent, as has Pathum (Nissanka) at the top of the order as well,” he added.
Kusal Mendis is standing in for the injured Dasun Shanaka and despite taking over the captaincy role, there has been no impact on his batting.
“I want them to be aggressive to be honest. I want them to play their game and obviously do things their way but have a positive mindset,” he said.
“It is a positive option when you take it and I am encouraging them to come out of their shell and push back and put pressure back on the bowlers. So, I think that is what he is trying to do,” Silverwood added.
Silverwood highlighted Sri Lanka’s inability to take wickets in the middle overs as one of the reasons for their largely disappointing show in the World Cup.
“Obviously power down the bottom, so when we do get a good start it is making sure that we finish innings off strong and obviously push on to big scores, and then taking wickets in the middle phase is something that we’re constantly working on,” he said.
“It is not easy on good wickets but we have to find a way and we have to find a way of taking those wickets. Otherwise, you are allowing other people to get big scores, making our lives difficult,” Silverwood added.
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