Sri Lanka must continue to improve despite the success they have enjoyed during their stay in Bangladesh to date if they are to lift the Asia Cup, captain Angelo Mathews said at a pre-tournament press conference in Dhaka on Monday. ‘I think as a team there is always room for improvement, Mathews said at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel on the eve of today’s Asia Cup opener between Sri Lanka and Pakistan at Fatullah.
‘I think you need to go from strength to strength. Just because we beat Bangladesh 3-0, it doesn’t mean we can relax in the Asia Cup. It’s going to be tough, so we need to play better cricket.’
Sri Lanka, who began their tour of Bangladesh on Jan 27 and won the two-match Test series 1-0, wrapped up their triumphant series against Bangladesh on Saturday, sweeping the ODI series 3-0 after taking the Twenty20 International series 2-0.
‘Yeah, I think we have been here for the past month or so and we played some good cricket, but I think that’s not going to win us games,’ Mathews said, ‘It’s a fresh tournament, battles are different as well. It’s going to be an even contest. We need to play better and consistent cricket to win against the other sides.’
The all-rounder dismissed the idea that the Sri Lankans’ fixture schedule to begin the year has been too tight, with series against Pakistan and Bangladesh immediately preceding the Asia Cup and the World Twenty20 coming right after.
‘No, not really. These tournaments are going to be important for all of us, the Asia Cup and the [World Twenty20]. It’s about man management. The support has been good from the support staff. We look forward to a better performance.’
Mathews also said that he expects the competition to be quite evenly-matched and that there would be few surprises as all the teams were all very familiar with each other.
‘We played a lot against Pakistan in the recent past, and also India in the last few years. We know their strengths and weaknesses and they know ours. And it’s about turning up on that day doing lesser mistakes, playing positive cricket.
‘All the sides are evenly balanced. It’s going to be an even contest. We look forward to playing some good and positive cricket.’
‘It is going to be tough as I said all the teams are [good] enough and everyone will want to win as much as we would like to win. It’s going to be a really good competition.’
-With New Age input