Sri Lanka skipper Mahela Jayawardene admitted he was ‘scared’ given the inaugural Sri Lanka Premier League was so close to the ICC World T20 that kicks off on September 18 here. But the Wayamba United skipper is thankful that there are no injury concerns to any Lankan players this far.
In an interaction after Wayamba’s 15-run win over Ruhuna Royals at the R Premadasa Stadium on Sunday, Jayawardene spoke, among other things, about the SLPL and its impact on domestic cricket. Excerpts:
On the SLPL experience...
It’s been very exciting. Firstly, I didn’t think that it will be this big. The cricket that we have played has been very good. The local players take a lot out of it than the international stars. Like in the IPL, where most of the domestic boys did well, the SLPL also has the same objective. (Rookie spinner) Akhila Dhananjaya has done well and it’s a big plus for us.
On SLPL being the perfect preparation for World T20...
SLPL is a good platform to prepare, but I was a bit scared as it was very close to the World T20, and injuries could hamper our chances but touch wood, most of the guys have managed to be injury-free. Guys like Angelo Mathews and Thissara Perera were nursing injuries before the SLPL and didn’t bowl in some matches and the franchise and coach respected that.
On Ajantha Mendis’ fitness...
He has played five to six games. The more he plays, the fitter he’ll get. I’ve heard from Angelo is that he’s bowling really well.
On his style of captaincy...
For me, it’s all about the guys playing their best cricket without putting a lot of pressure on them. For example, I’ve been tracking Akhila for some time. When I first met him, he was very raw. I spoke to him about the things he needs to work on, and six months later, there’s a huge difference. That means he wants to constantly improve. He is a cunning fellow and always has a smile on his face that reminds me of Murali.
On India missing out on World T20 preparation through SLPL...
India are playing some cricket at the moment. Any form of cricket is good preparation. It doesn’t matter whether it is T20s, ODIs or Tests. Nowadays, we have to switch from Test cricket to ODIs a few days.
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