Colombo, Oct 26 :
Sri Lanka cricket captain Angelo Mathews said Sunday his team did not have sufficient time to prepare for the One-Day International (ODI) series in India, starting Nov 2, when they agreed to fill the void in the calendar after the West Indies players abandoned their India tour due to a payment dispute with their board.
“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,” Mathews was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Sri Lankan players were in the middle of a break when they were called up to play a five-match series after their board agreed to Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) request to play in India.
“We had a good break to improve our physical fitness and now we have to maintain that. I am sure during the Indian matches we won’t be able to do strenuous training as we did in the past one and a half months but we will try and maintain it and look at it positively,” the 27-year-old said.
“We were preparing for the England series because we knew that there weren’t any tours coming before that. We were focused a lot on fitness and just started batting three days ago. We only had a few skill-training sessions. We needed to reach our peak levels during the 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.”
Sri Lanka were due to host England in late November after playing Pakistan at home in August. They had planned to utilise this break to rest some players and concentrate on physical training sessions.
Sri Lanka will reach India Oct 28 and begin the tour with a practice game against India A in Mumbai Oct 30.
“We will try to use the series to keep our momentum going and get our World Cup combinations right, that will be our main focal point. Our 2015 World Cup preparations started from the Pakistan series. I need to make sure I get the team right before the series in New Zealand,” Mathews said.
New Zealand will host Sri Lanka in two Tests and seven ODIs from Dec 30 to Jan 29.
“The confidence level of the team is also pretty crucial as we move into the last few months of the World Cup but then again we need to look at our options and get the combinations right as well.”
The all-rounder warned his team could not be complacent against India without their regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who was not named in the side 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,” he said.
In the absence of Dhoni, India will be led by Virat Kohli.