Featured ICC T20 World Cup 2022

“We just want to play good cricket and justify our presence in Australia” – Bhanuka Rajapaksa

Q. How do you prepare for a game where you might know your fate by the time you play the game, as in if the results don’t go the way you need them today, then there’s less riding on tomorrow’s game? How do you mentally prepare for that?

BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA: Hopefully the result will prepare us by Australia getting beaten by Afghanistan, so that’s what we are hoping for, but preparations are just the same. We are coming here to justify our presence over here in Australia. We just want to play good cricket. At the end of the day, the result doesn’t really matter as long as we play some good cricket.

Q. You’ve obviously got the former England coach leading you at the moment. Has there been any talk about winning this game for him tomorrow?

BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA: It’s just another game for him. He finished his stint in England a couple of months back, and he joined Sri Lanka, so now he’s our coach.

It’s just another matter of playing a winning game; that’s about it. We’re just taking it game by game, so I mean, no pressure riding on the coach.

Q. I’m wondering what influence Chris has had on the team since he’s joined the last couple months.

BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA: He’s one coach that we’ve been looking forward to his input, and the input has been quite straightforward and the clarity is there. I mean, it’s quite simple with him.

We’ve been pushed hard. There’s no limits with him, so we’ve been really pushed hard. He just wants us to get better every day, and it’s quite simple, as I said before. There’s so much clarity, and he’s been great, and we’ll get better hopefully in the future.

Q. Obviously he knows the England players well. Has he shared any secrets with you on how to face Chris Woakes or Adil Rashid or Mark Wood? Has he told the bowlers what Jos Buttler might not like to face?

BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA: Yeah, we have a general strategy, plans for each individual when we play against them. It’s just we know the game, and for us as a team, we play a lot of franchise cricket so we know all the players more, and of course Chris has spoken to us. It’s just a normal strategy and a general plan for everyone. That’s about it.

Q. How important is it to get a win under your belt against England and finish the tournament on a high note?

BHANUKA RAJAPAKSA: Yes, as I said before, I think regardless of the result of today’s game, it’s a matter of playing good cricket in Australia. We have already shown what we are capable of a couple of months back, and it’s a strong side. Unfortunately not all the results have come our way, but tomorrow’s game is quite important to end on a high note. As I said before the game, we just want to play good cricket and justify our presence in Australia. That’s about it.

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