Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said his side would like to strive as a team when they start their tri-nation ODI series campaign taking on Zimbabwe at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka Wednesday.
The Lankans travelled to Bangladesh with not too many fond memories in 50-over cricket in the recent past. The side in their last 10 outings in the format won only once, against India in Dharamsala.
And the last time the island nation faced Zimbabwe, they were humiliated, suffering a 3-2 defeat in the five-ODI series at home in June-July last year. And in their very last series, the Lankans lost the three-ODI series 2-1 while touring India last month.
Chandika Hathurusingha then took charge as the head coach, following an absurd exit from the Bangladesh job, while Mathews was reappointed limited-over captain. The all-rounder was given back the charge within six months from his resignation from the position. It is highly expected that Mathews would lead the team in the 2019 World Cup.
“I think as a team we would strive as the best and we want to play good cricket. Keep improving every single game. That is our main target. Winning is very important but when you are building a team for the 2019 World Cup, you have got to look at all the angles. And just build a team and try and play competitive cricket. Not think of the result too much, do the processes well and the results will take care of itself,” explained Mathews ahead of their game against Zimbabwe.
The 30-year-old admitted that keeping the team motivated is tough when the results are going against them but Mathews said recent results have not affected the team morale much.
“It is quite difficult to keep the team motivated when you are not doing well. But this is our job. You got to motivate yourselves and the guys are all motivated. Just one or two losses or a few losses here and there should not put us in a bad situation. A few months ago in the Champions Trophy we won against a strong Indian side. So the team won’t be bad after a few months. It is the same team more or less and we have the skill and we have got the talent. We just need to go out there and enjoy,” said Mathews.
Mathews rated Zimbabwe highly and said both the teams have equal chance of ending the series with a positive result. Zimbabwe started the series with a defeat, to Bangladesh by eight wickets, but that should not matter much when they take on Sri Lanka, believes Mathews.
“Zimbabwe have played very well in Sri Lanka. It was not only that, we played badly, but they had also played very well. They are a good team and as you know, all their players have come back to play for their country. Now they have got even stronger. It is going to be a challenge and we look forward to it,” Mathews explained.