SL captain vows to play competitive cricket

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Despite having struggled during the last couple of years in the international circuit, Sri Lankan women cricket team captain Chamari Athapaththu is confident that her charges can play ‘competitive’ cricket during their limited-overs series against Pakistan.

“Definitely Pakistan is a tough team at home and so very difficult, but as a cricketer you have to cope with the pressure situation. I think our combination is good and we can exploit their weak areas. We can manage and play competitive cricket,” Chamari told a news conference here at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium on Saturday.

Sri Lankan women cricket team arrived in Pakistan on Thursday to play a series of three T20Is and the same number of ODIs which will begin with the T20I series opener at the Southend Club Cricket Stadium from 24 May.

Addressing a media conference Chamari went onto say:

“We have a few young players and a few seniors as well in the squad. Last two years we did not play (ODI) international cricket, instead we played a lot of domestic cricket. I feel my players are ready for this tour,” said the experienced batter, who also played a T20 league in Dubai recently.

Expressing her pleasure about her team’s tour to Pakistan Chamari said that the whole team was very ‘excited’.

“I am very excited. We came here as a team after 17 years, as we had come here for the first time in 2005. This is my first tour to Pakistan and the whole team is very excited,” Chamari said.

“Pakistan and the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have provided us with good facilities. I am happy and appreciate everything. The weather is a bit hot, but we can play good cricket here. Pakistan and Sri Lanka are good cricketing nations and we have to play competitive cricket here,” she said.

Chamari said that they have come with a ‘good spirit’ following a title-win in the Commonwealth Games qualifiers, and added that the tour, especially ODIs are very crucial for them.

“Yes, this tour is very important, especially the three ODI games going into the rankings. Yes, we struggled during the last two years. The positive thing is that we did well in the Commonwealth Games qualifiers and so we came here in good spirits, and I think we can play good cricket here,” she said.

Responding to a question about the deteriorating political and economic situation back home, Chamari said that they have to just focus on their game. “We are cricketers and as humans we have to face such sort of things in our lives. As a cricketer and as captain, I can control some things and not what is out of our control. I didn’t think about that and stood by my team. We just focus on our game and play cricket and that’s all,” she said.

“I don’t think about political things, but as a cricketer all my prayers are for a peaceful country. I hope everything will settle down in two weeks or next month. I hope all politicians and people stay calm and cool as we want a peaceful country,” she said.

The SL captain added that the players are mentally stable despite the bad situation at home.

She said that Udeshika Prabodhani, left-arm pacer, could not come with the team because she was a Covid-19 positive case in Dubai where she was playing in the T20 League. However, Chamari said that she was their top bowler and the team needed her and ‘hopefully’ she would be with them in two days.

The first T20I between the two nations will be held on 24 May, followed by the second and third on 26 and 28 May. The three ODI series will be conducted from 1-5 June. Both teams had a good practice session on Saturday.

(Agencies)