Aakash Sivasubramaniam
28 Oct 2022 | 03:41 AM

We are up against the challenge of facing New Zealand: Naveed

Sri Lanka’s assistant coach talked about his team’s chances in this year’s tournament

Sri Lanka are plagued with injuries. At this point in the tournament, it is not even an overreaction, given the number of injuries that they have suffered in the campaign here in Australia. On Tuesday (October 25), they lost another pacer – Binura Fernando – to injury, which now has put them in a spot of bother. 

But Sri Lanka’s assistant coach, Naveed Nawaz calls it as an opportunity for others to take it up and become national heroes. 

“Not exactly (on morale going down in dressing room). This is something that we cannot control, and I think it's an opportunity for a new guy to come in and play. The spirits are pretty high. The hopes are still there for us to take our opportunity to make it to the semifinals. We're all very well motivated and still looking forward to the rest of the tournament,” Naveed said. 

After a win against Ireland in their opener, the Islanders crashed to a staggering defeat against the hosts, Australia, putting their campaign in a bit of bother. But going to Sydney, where spin might play a role, Naveed states that the team is looking forward to the clash against the BlackCaps.

“Yeah, exactly. I think Sydney is a very favorable venue for Sri Lanka. It has been throughout the years, and we are looking forward to this game against New Zealand,” he added.

Having talked about the bowling unit, Naveed hoped for a better show from Sri Lanka’s middle-order, with most of the runs in this year’s tournament coming from their top-order batters. 

“Yeah, exactly. If you look at all the games that we played, the top order has batted through, and there was very few overs at the end for the late order and the middle order,” he talks about the batting unit. 

“We need them to come out with their hands up at the right moment. Although they are short of overs, there are a very limited number of overs for them to go out there and show what they can do, I think they will come up -- there's nothing to say that they're out of form or they're out of nick or anything like that, but I think when the moment arises, they'll definitely come into the game and show us what they can do.”

On the number of injuries, Nawaz calls for a thorough inspection at the end of the tournament, in identifying the reason behind players breaking down. 

“I guess that's something that we have to go back to and sit down and figure out why this has happened and what's the best solution that we can take on that. We haven't had time to sit down and find solutions right now on the long-term of what is going on, but we are trying to field the best 11 in the field as much as possible by replacing the injured players right now,” he insists. 

On their rivals for Saturday, New Zealand, Naveed praised them, calling them “one of the top sides” in the competition. However, he insists that the Islanders will give a tough fight to them. 

“Well, obviously they're one of the top sides in the world, and we rate them pretty highly. We know coming to a World Cup and we know in a group which has Australia, New Zealand, England, Afghanistan, you know that any of the matches that you cannot take easily. So we are prepared for it, and we know exactly what we need to do, if we need to put ourselves there in the semifinals.

"We're up to it, and we'll try to play our best cricket and try to give every chance for us to get qualified into the semifinals."

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