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We cannot be complacent: Mathews

The preparation has been good, but it is crunch time now, says the Sri Lankan skipper

We cannot be complacent: Mathews - Cricket News
Angelo Mathews, captain of Sri Lanka speaks to the media.
Angelo, even in the best days with Muralitharan, Sri Lankan cricket had a reputation for being strongest at home.  In recent times you got really good results in Australia and South Africa, are you looking forward to these conditions? Because the makeup of this team seems to have changed a bit, it's not spin heavy anymore?
We've still got some really good spinners on the team in (Indiscernible) and the guys we have now. But, yeah, I think we've been consistent in especially -- people keep talking, saying that we've been consistent in ICC events, but I think that's the past.  I think we need to move on and try to take one game at a time and not look too far ahead.
Angelo, the two practice games, how much importance is attached to coming to the tournament proper?
Definitely it was very important for us. We didn’t start on one practice game, unfortunately, but we had some good preparation. We were not worried about the results; we just wanted to get some good opportunity for all of the guys or rather most of the guys to feel the conditions, to try to get used to the conditions, and we did. I thought we had some good preparation but now it's crunch time.
In both the practice matches Mahela came in at number three. Is that something you're looking to carry on in the tournament and what is the thinking behind that?
 We haven't decided on our batting order, but we just wanted to try him at number three, but we still haven't decided on how we are about to go tomorrow. But, definitely there are more experienced players. They've been here, they've done it, so we are trying to look at them doing the job for us at the top.
This is, I believe, Sri Lanka's first match with the new rules.  How much have you been able to interpret those rules?
We've played a few with the new rules. Yeah, it is not really easy, but I think with the new rules we are playing to think one step ahead all the time. It keeps you on your toes on your 50 overs. Yeah, when it comes to the new rules once again, it's not easy (no audio), so we haven't make it too complicated (no audio).
Just wanted to ask you, does the knockout nature of this tournament, does that put extra pressure on teams, because you know that one slip‑up and you could find it difficult to stay on in the tournament? Does it put extra pressure in that sense?
Definitely. Not only for us, but I think all the teams are here to achieve one goal, and all of the teams feel that pressure. So I think it's up to each individual how to go about the pressure, and I think in this tournament it's going to be really important to start it well. The start is going to be very important.
How important is it the roles of all‑rounders in these conditions, and also with the new rules how do you see your role in the set up?
Yeah, I think all‑rounders are always valuable for a team when it comes to the shorter form as always and the longer format. I think if you have some general all‑rounders on the team whom you feel can do the job, it's always beneficial to have them on the team.
I think as of now we are not looking at anything unusual, but planning to get the maximum out of all the players. The 15 can walk into the site any given day. So we're not looking at individuals, but we are looking to perform as a collective unit.
Looking at Sri Lanka's recent record in ICC tournaments, obviously, finalists in the last World Cup, finalists in the T20, you seem to have quite a task living up to those standards as the new captain?
Well, yeah. As I always say, as people keep saying we've done pretty well in the recent past, that's past. I think as a team we still have to go a long way, but we are not looking too far ahead.  It will be in the back our mind, but we just want to try to take one game at a time and try to win from the first game.
I was talking with (Indiscernible) about Lasith Malinga, and we were talking about how unbelievable it is that he get that's yorker in, and he said something interesting.  He said it's interesting, because he's put on a bit of weight recently, he said he thinks he's better when he's got less weight.  It's difficult to talk about other individuals, but do you have any words on that?
Well, he hasn't ‑‑ well, to me he hasn't put on that much weight. He's very professional the way he goes about things and he knows exactly what to do and how to do it. He's a premium bowler, and he gets the bowling in it with him. He helps quite a lot.  He works with all the bowlers and he tries to give the maximum each time he walks into the middle.
Maybe it's muscle?
Maybe muscle, yeah.
How much do you use spin to get the New Zealanders out given how they've looked quite vulnerable to it in the past?
Yeah, on this pitch, the spinners might come into play. It looks like it's going to be slow as the game goes on, and the spinners might come into play. But I think we've always had the four seamers and the two all‑rounders. But we've got our options open.
We still haven't decided on who is playing tomorrow. But, I think, definitely with the fast bowlers there will be a lot of variations to play.
You've had a good run against the New Zealanders in recent times, but they're going to the tournament having won a series in England. How do you assess them as an opposition?
efinitely, they are a very dangerous side to beat, and it's a very hard team to beat as well because they've gotten used to the conditions and played some very good games in the recent past against the English team. Yeah, I mean, we can't be complacent. We've got to be ready to go from ball one.
You know, we know what they can do. They can, on any given day, any team can beat any team. So the best playing ‑‑ the best eight teams are going to have to have a chance. It's whoever plays best on that day.
Having three former captains and Dinesh and T20 captain on the same side, is it a good thing, and how much do you lean on them for advice considering the amount of experience these guys have as captain?
Yeah, definitely. If you take Mahela, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, they have had more than 1,000 ODIs between them and they have a lot of experience. Yeah, it's always good to have the past captains on the team whom you can rely on. So, it's going to be a huge advantage for me as well.
A lot of the other teams with the new rules are talking about conserving wickets early and playing safe in the first 10 overs, but Sri Lanka have two very aggressive openers. What do you think about that, and are you looking back to that '96 blueprint when Sri Lanka last lifted a major trophy?
Yeah, we'll try to look to play the way we are capable to play cricket, and I think if we can do our things properly and if we can do our things right, we've got a couple of dashing openers at the top. So we are not trying to change too much of them.
We'll let them play how they've been used to playing and the rest of the few players who can consolidate in the middle, and we've got a few power hitters as well at the back end. So we've got a pretty balanced team, so we'll see how it goes.
Do you have any plans for Martin Guptill?
Yeah, definitely. He's been in tremendous form lately. He got a couple of honors against the English team. So we've set a few plans.  Well, as I said before, we're not looking at any individual in a team. If we focus on Martin Guptill only, someone else will come in and do the job for them. So we are looking at all their top seven batters, and we can't be complacent once again, as I said before.

What are your thoughts on Ross Taylor and his form of late?
Definitely he's been ‑‑ well, he's come back to form as well. He's a very dangerous player, and we all know what he can do.  So, yeah, as I said before, we've got plans for all of them. It's just that we need to try to execute them on the field.

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