Sri Lanka’s head coach Mickey Arthur believes that his team has learned a lot during the just-concluded three-match ODI against India. Even though the Dasun Shanaka-led team conceded the series 1-2, Arthur makes it clear that this will help the side going forward.
“They have learned a massive amount. We are right at the embryonic stage of this journey and it is about us playing against ourselves every day we go out on to the ground. We have got benchmarks, which we aim to meet in every game. We are measuring ourselves and the progression in terms of the KPIs has been outstanding. We are getting better and better,” Arthur said on Saturday.
“The fact which I like is how we are evolving our game. Our strategies around how we want to bowl, who we want to bowl, how we are looking to get people out. The other night, we got stuck in the middle period because we did not score square of the wicket early enough and we had a long chat about that. And to see guys bat there and sweep from the start – shows evolution of the side. There are so many good little signs on how the guys are evolving and getting better,” Arthur added.
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After going down in the first couple of ODIs, Sri Lanka bagged a consolation win on Friday and Arthur admired the players for pulling it off.
“They have been pushed from pillar to post in terms of training. The media has been on their backs. Each day, these guys rock up, wanting to get better. Work ethic has been nothing short of amazing. Last night, we got a little bit of reward for all the efforts these guys have put in. We are realistic, we know we have a hell lot of work to do, but to get a little bit of reward is so nice because these guys deserve every little bit that they can get at this moment.”
The coach was also happy to see Avishka Fernando and Bhanuka Rajapaksha overcoming fitness issues. “Bhanuka and Avishka are two guys who have borne the brunt of our fitness scheme and have missed out on tours. I could not have been happier to see them come good. The differences I had with Bhanuka was for his own good,” Arthur said.
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Over the last few months, the Sri Lankan team and the support staff have been trolled on social media for poor show. But Arthur – who joined Twitter only last year during the lockdown – feels that the players should stay off social media. “My advice to the guys is just stay off it. Some of the stuff that’s written on it is beyond comprehensible. It annoys you, frustrates you, and puts you into a bad mood. It also forces your judgement on issues…”
“My best advice (to the guys) will be to stay off it. There are some idiots on there who think they know exactly what’s going on when in fact they know nothing…”
Sri Lanka begins its three-match T20I series against India in Colombo from Sunday.