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POSTED AT 04:05 PM 10-03-2018

Playing it smart is Sri Lanka’s name of the game

Take on Bangladesh today

Fast bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake (left) with head coach Chandika Hathurusingha during practices.

The best person to ask how a new coach is fairing with his protégés is those who work with him. In that aspect Rumesh Ratnayake, the former Sri Lanka fast bowler and presently the fast bowling coach to the national cricket team threw some light on how head coach Chandika Hathurusingha has been gradually changing the mindset of our cricketers in order to give them the confidence to go out and win matches for the country.

Since Hathurusingha took charge of the Sri Lanka team they have been on a roll beating Bangladesh in their own conditions at home across all three formats and starting the ongoing Hero Nidahas T20 tri-series with an emphatic win over India – their tormentors for the past six months.

“As I always say talent was aplenty in our team, it’s just that the mindset of the boys. I think coach Hathuru has come in and taken maximum part in that. He has changed their mindset by letting them do the things on their own,” said Ratnayake ahead of Sri Lanka’s second match of the tournament against Bangladesh at the R Premadasa Stadium today.

“It’s all about smart options, he lets people take smart options, and even if you fail he will say ‘well, that was good enough let’s try again next time’. For an example, you tell a boy to go and play some shots but if he gets out you can’t ask him ‘why did you play that shot?’ So he’s a man of his word. We have given the players that confidence and if it has shown in the boys’ that’s good but consistency is what we’re looking for in the future,” he said.

“To a great extent the players are playing with confidence now, but at the same time it’s important that we continue to play smart cricket. What is smart cricket? It’s about adapting to in-game situations quickly. What Hathuru has done since he came in is he has given the players the freedom to make those decisions,” he added.

Ratnayake said the main preparation is to get the right combination for next year’s cricket World Cup in England and every match that Sri Lanka plays is directed towards that while at the same time they look for consistency.

“We have seen a change in the team and we’re taking each game as it comes. Our ambition is to get the team ready for the World Cup, and that is was what we are working towards,” said Ratnayake.

“It’s not about being ruthless it’s about playing a smarter game and playing to the best of our abilities. I think people were very fortunate to see some good parts of the game won against India in the last match. It’s not about winning one part it was many parts, and your chances are enhanced by making those parts bigger and bigger.”

Ratnayake said that he expects Bangladesh to come back after their loss to India on Thursday as they are a strong side. “They are a team that has beaten all teams in Bangladesh. They beat us in Sri Lanka. So they’re a strong team that has several guys with potential to do extremely well. You see them as struggling because we have gone and performed well there. Maybe they’re going through a little bit of a rough patch, but we take every match seriously. I’m sure they would want to go and show us that they’re something different. But we’re well prepared and we’re ready for it.”

Sri Lanka has not taken a final decision on their team yet, but Ratnayake said there is room for some changes depending on the conditions and what combination will suit the wicket.

Sa’adi Thawfeeq