Our Players Are Getting Better With Every Match They Play: Sri Lankan Coach Mickey Arthur
Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur was firm about his team trying to make improvements all the time in the ICC men's T20 World Cup. He added that every time Sri Lanka has taken the field, he has applauded the players for their intensity, skill and execution.
Sri Lanka has been on a winning streak in the tournament starting from Round 1 and now face Australia in their second match of Super 12 in Dubai on Thursday.
"For us, it's just about us improving all the time. And every time we go out and play, I've applauded the players in terms of intensity, in terms of skill, in terms of execution. And the players have been outstanding. And we just are improving. For us, it's about our journey at the moment. It's not a sprint. Our players are getting better and better. We've got one sitting next to me here, that they get better with every outing that they play," said Arthur in the pre-match press conference on Wednesday.
"So I'm really, really happy. The qualifiers were tough. There was a lot of pressure on us there. Now the pressure is reversed because we come into this space with not much to lose. We're playing good cricket. We're very dangerous. The players are very clear on what their roles are, and we're confident we can beat anybody on our day," added Arthur.
Arthur confirmed that off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana will be available for Thursday's match against Australia. Theekshana, who took eight wickets in three matches of Round 1, didn't play in Sri Lanka's win in their first Super 12 match against Bangladesh on Sunday due to side strain.
"Maheesh will be playing tomorrow, if everything goes well. We rested him from training yesterday. He's improved tremendously. So we'll warm him up tomorrow; and if everything goes well, he'll be playing."
"He's a quality bowler. He's a mystery bowler. He's still young, though. He's still making his way in the game. If you haven't seen Maheesh, he certainly poses some questions. He has a couple of different balls that do make you quite hesitant if you can't pick them. So, look, it will be an interesting contest tomorrow."
Arthur is also looking forward to registering his 16th win as a coach in T20Is in the UAE, but as a Sri Lanka coach. Previously, he spent time in the Gulf nation as the Pakistan coach. "It's certainly helped. As I said, I spent three years playing with Pakistan. So, we do know the wickets. And with Pakistan we also had a set format that we played to, sort of set brand."
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"And we've sort of tried to replicate that just a little bit with the Sri Lankan boys. So that's certainly helped. Conditions aren't overly different to what we experience in Sri Lanka. So that's helped our guys as well. And let's just hope that 15 becomes 16 tomorrow," signed off Arthur.
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