Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanka underlined the importance of the T20I and ODI series against India, citing it as good exposure for players before the ODI World Cup that is scheduled to be held in the country in October 2023.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the first T20I of the three-match series, Shanka talked about the youngsters getting hands-on experience playing in India before the World Cup.
“This series will give us good exposure to ground conditions keeping in mind the World Cup is to be played in India and playing against the hosts will be good preparation before the World Cup,” he said.
“T20I and ODI series are very important keeping in mind the World Cup this year since most of the guys haven’t played in India. It’s the first tour of many of the youngsters who are playing in the national side so knowing the situations of the ground, it’s going to be a very important series. The conditions and the wickets here offer better batting pitches than Sri Lanka and hence the batters will make use of the conditions,” he added.
Shanka talked about the Indian team stepping into the T20I series without regular captain Rohit Sharma and said that it is always challenging to play against the hosts irrespective of key players missing from the lineup.
“Need to step up and perform well in the series in the new year as we didn’t perform well in the World Cup. The Indian side is always a good side and you need to play good cricket against them to win. It’s always tough against them in India but we have a very great team and we are looking forward to a very good game,” said the Sri Lankan skipper.
The all-rounder did not shy from stating that he wanted to be a part of the IPL and remarked that the level of cricket in the Lanka Premier League (LPL) is not at par with other T20 leagues in the world.
“I was keen to get into the IPL side but it’s not in my hands. Opportunities come and go so I am not worried. I am looking to perform well and stay consistent which is in my control. LPL offers youngsters good international exposure but its standard is not upto the other leagues like IPL, BBL etc. Playing international cricket is very much different. Some of the youngsters from the LPL are here and will look to gain some experience out of the series,” expressed Shanaka.
He emphasized the importance of starting on the right note in the series and talked about the difference in conditions in Asia and Australia.
“Conditions are very different and it creates a lot of differences. Many superstars didn’t perform in the T20 World Cup. In Asia, the conditions are familiar. When it comes to Asian conditions it’s important to know how to start and control the game. The first game is very important. India has changed its line-up but we also have good experienced players. We must do well in the first game as it sets the tone for the remaining tour,” concluded the Sri Lankan.
India will take on Sri Lanka at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday in the first T20I of the three-match series. Hardik Pandya will lead the team as Rohit Sharma injured himself and has been given rest for the T20I series.
The right-hander will return to captain the side in the ODI series against the Sri Lankans beginning on January 10.