World Cup preparation is on track: Mahela Jayawardene
Sri Lanka might have surrendered the five-match ODI series against India in the third game itself but former captain Mahela Jayawardene on Wednesday said that there was nothing to worry about their World Cup preparation as things are on track.
Kolkata: Sri Lanka might have surrendered the five-match ODI series against India in the third game itself but former captain Mahela Jayawardene on Wednesday said that there was nothing to worry about their World Cup preparation as things are on track.
"When you go into a big tournament you have to have that hunger to win. In our camp we have that. Our guys tend to rise when it matters. As long as the focus and intent is there I think we'll get very far," Jayawardene told reporters on the eve of their penultimate ODI of the series at Eden Gardens.
"This is the build up, yes we would have few hiccups and not a concern. Things are right on track."
"I think we have the knack of rising to the occasion in big tournaments and stand up to the pressure. Not just me if you see how Lasith (Malinga) and Nuwan Kulasekara bowled those last four five overs," he said referring to their World T20 final win against India in Bangladesh.
The senior pro further recalled their successive runners-up finishes in the World Cup.
"No one gave us an opportunity to come out of that group in 2007 in the West Indies. In the end, India went out and we went all the way.
"Yes we're one of the favourites in the last edition because of the home conditions but we handled the pressure and reached the final."
Jayawardene further said they have been very successful this time and claimed their winning percentage was about 80 per cent.
"If you take this year leading up to the World Cup we have been pretty consistent home and away so we just need to build on that. We have got seven ODIs against England at home and then seven in New Zealand to give us much better preparation leading up to the World Cup."
Jayawardene however said they would sit back and analyse things before they embark on the World Cup campaign.
"We have had a fantastic year so far. Our winning percentage was somewhere around 80 per cent. We won the Asia Cup and then the World T20. This is International cricket."
"The only series we lost was to South Africa at home. You just can't take all the good work done away just because we lost three games badly.
"We will analyse and see what went wrong. Obviously the performance has not been up to the mark in all the three departments. We need to sit down and rethink our strategy. Once we get all our players back I think we will play good cricket."
Giving credit to India for a dominating performance, Jayawardene further said they should learn a few things from the hosts.
"You have to give credit to the Indians as well they have been playing well in all the three departments. We can learn a few things from them as well. How they gel together, the way they handle different situations, and especially the way they played in the power plays. We can learn and make sure we take all that back."
The series might have been reduced to a dead rubber but Jayawardene said there are plenty of stakes in it.
"Both teams have a lot to prove. They have Rohit (Sharma) and Robin (Uthappa) back in the side and I don't think they will take it lightly.
"Our boys obviously disappointed for what has happened will look to play for our pride and take something back from this tournament. Even though it's a dead rubber I think there's a lot to play for. Don't forget we still have two more games left and we will look to win."
Jayawardene also stood behind Kumar Sangakkara and Tillakartne Dilshan who have struggled to get going in the series.
"You can't analyse two brilliant players of that caliber from two matches in India. You need to see the entire year.
"The success that we had was because of the contribution of those two players. To have an 80 percent winning record in a year is something phenomenal and does not happen overnight. That will not be taken away after two or three bad outings we had in India.
"Our preparation was different leading up to the tournament, our focus was on somewhere else. Given the opportunity we're very happy to come to India and play five matches knowing that the opposition was tough and we would be tested."
On Virat Kohli's captaincy he said: "He takes the aggression of his batting into the captaincy which is a good thing. But you need to wait and see and analyse how he would fare in a longer period of time. It's unfair for me to make any comment right now but I think he's a fantastic player and he would succeed in the days to come."