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Pothas says Sri Lanka ready for Pakistan challenge
by Agnelo Rodrigues September 26, 2017
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ABU DHABI: Sri Lanka cricket isn’t in the best of shape but coach Nic Pothas was optimistic and said that the mood in the camp is high as they prepare to face Pakistan in the first Test at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Thursday.

“The mood in the team is good and there is great blend of senior and junior guys. But I would not like to say senior and junior because everyone face the same ball and bowl the same ball. The mood within these guys is fantastic,” said the South African in the Capital on Monday following his team’s first training session.

The visitors who come into the tournament at the back of series whitewash at home against India have lost nine matches in a row in all formats, but the coach is still upbeat.

“I think we take every day as it comes. India are at the top of their form and they are 3-0 against Australia now and have whitewashed England at home. They are a very strong side and you have to put things into perspective. We also had some injuries to senior guys but it is done and is the thing of the past now.”

“The morale is still good and that is great about this team. We try to stay as consistent as possible because it is dangerous if you emotional,” added Pothas, calling on his team to perform.

“We are probably in an era where we are sick and tired of talking about transformation. Sick and tired about talking that it is learning period and it is time to go out and perform and that is the challenge. We are going to meet a world-class team and so we have to go out there and execute our game. We have to move forward and play every single game to win and see how we do at the end of every single day,” the 43-year-old added.

While Dinesh Chandimal will lead the team, the Lanka selectors have recalled batsman Kaushal Silva, and Suranga Lakmal, who missed the three-Test series against India due to an injury, in the 15-member squad.

The squad also has two uncapped players. Right-handed batsman Roshen Silva will replace Angelo Mathews who was ruled out due to a calf strain while 22-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Sadheera Samarawickrema is the other uncapped player.

“Samarawickrana is a top order batsman and we are very fortunate that we can use him in that regard. The selectors have said that we can use the players in the position they have been picked for and he has been picked to cover the top three. I would imagine that’s what the selectors would do,” Pothas said while backing Roshen to come good.

“Roshen has come into the side at the back of runs in the domestic competition. We are making a mark as in if you score runs in the domestic circuit you will get a chance to play for the national team.

His record is second only to Sanga (Kumar Sangakkara) and he is in great form at the moment and hopefully he can get some runs for us.”

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