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We didn’t have ideal preparation for India tour: Mathews

We didn’t have ideal preparation for India tour: Mathews
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After their series against Pakistan in August, the Lankan players were in the midst of fitness training sessions with the next series coming up against England at home from late next month. But they were told by their board to get ready for the five-ODI series tour of India, beginning November 2.

Mathews said there hasn’t  been sufficient preparation for the November 2-16 ODI series against India which was hurriedly arranged after the West Indies team decided to abandon their tour midway over players’ pay dispute with their Board (WICB).

‘The preparation for the series is not that great, we only had a few practice sessions especially with the weather interrupting. It is not the ideal preparation for an Indian tour but we will do our best to prepare ourselves and take it as it comes. We were preparing for the England series because we knew there were not any tours coming before that. We were focussed a lot on fitness and we just started batting three days ago. We only had a few skill-training sessions. We needed to reach our peak levels during England series but now that we’ve been thrown into a challenge, we will try our best to be prepared as much as we can,’ Mathew was quoted as saying by The Nation newspaper.

Mathews said that Kumar Sangakkara was struggling with a back injury and there was a possibility of Niroshan Dickwella keeping wickets. ‘Sanga will keep wickets and if Dickwella plays he will play as a batsman. Sanga is struggling a little bit with his back as well that’s why we need to carry a reserve wicket keeper,’ said the 27-year-old all-rounder who has scored 3013 runs at an average of 38.13 and taken 80 wickets in 133 ODIs.

‘Sanga is having a small disc problem in his back he was complaining of it but it’s nothing serious, he was getting better every day so hopefully he will be okay. We might have to monitor him in the next few days if he can keep, otherwise we will have to play Dickwella,’ he said.

Mathews warned that his team cannot lower their guard against the Indians despite captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni being rested for the first three ODIs. ‘Dhoni is a great strength to the Indian team and if he is rested we have a very good chance but we still cannot be complacent because we all know that India is a difficult place to play cricket. We had bad experiences in the past. We will try and play positive and good cricket to win against them,’ said Mathews.

Sri Lanka has not beaten India in India in a bilateral ODI series. Their best performance has been a draw in a three-match series, 1-1 in 1997. In Dhoni’s absence, the Indian captaincy has been handed to Virat Kohli, who has been a thorn in the Lankan flesh in the recent past.
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