Sri Lanka skipper Angelo Mathews relishes the ‘underdog’ tag as Sri Lanka prepares for the ICC Champions Trophy in England.
The tournament is expected to be a tough one of the 2002 joint champions as they come through a difficult period, having lost six of the seven ODIs they played during the first part of the year.
“All the teams are quite even, I think in the past few months we have had a few lapses here and there. Nobody will give us a chance, to be really honest, but we are happy to enter the tournament as underdogs, Mathews said at a press conference in England.
“We are confident, we have prepared extremely well. In Sri Lanka and England for the past few days, it’s been really good. All the teams are quite even but it’s on the given day, the guys who make less mistakes will win. It can be England, it can be us, it can be anyone.
“Everyone has got a chance, no one can write anyone off and I’m sure it will be a very exciting tournament.”
Sri Lanka’s first round opponent are South Africa, probably one of the tournament favourite, India and Pakistan and must win at least two to secure a semi-final spot which seems increasingly difficult on paper.
However, the return of several players with experience may have given them a bit of extra boost, but it doesn’t seem Sri Lanka has all the components to win a major tournament in their ranks this time around.
“We are a team where we stick to our basics. We’ve played pretty well in England, especially in 2014, so we will try to take a leaf out of it.
“We are a pretty young, inexperienced team, but a few of us have played in England. Anyone can change a game at any given stage. We have got the talent, the skill in the team, it’s just that we have to go out there and express ourselves,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s ‘x-factor’ is however the inclusion of Lasith Malinga, who is returning to the side after a long-injury lay-off and skipper says sling-arm seamer is fully-fit and ready for the longer format.
“(Malinga) is fully fit. We look forward to utilising him in the matches. He is very keen, he got here a few days back. He’s very keen to get on the park. He hasn’t played 50-over games in the recent past but he has played a lot of games in the IPL which is very intense.
“He’s been doing a lot of training as well. He is confident, we are confident as well. We all know he is a match winner, he has proven himself over the past many years. He can win us a game single-handedly, so we are looking forward to it.”