The Sri Lanka captain sees the tournament as a good learning curve and a chance to iron out any shortcomings in the team
The ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier 2017 is obviously a big tournament for all the teams playing in it and we are looking forward to it as much as any other team.
There is a lot at stake in this tournament because it’s not just a chance for teams to qualify for the ICC Women’s World Cup but also the ICC Women’s Championship. While the top four teams will assure places in these two prestigious tournaments, the next two will ensure ODI status for the next four-year cycle, which again is very important.
This tournament will also give us an opportunity to learn what we need to work on as a team. It will be a good learning curve and we are looking forward to ironing out whatever deficiencies we have in the team. I feel we are in the learning process and getting to play some leading teams will only be beneficial.
We have been preparing for over three months for this tournament. We are guided by our coach, Mr. Hemantha Devapriya, whose support and encouragement has given us the moral support that we need to go through at this stage.
We have also been conscious of our fitness and wellness, which we have been consistently working on. As for our team, we are banking on both our bowling and batting strengths to help us qualify for and eventually win the tournament. If we could achieve that, it will be a great moment for Sri Lankan women’s cricket and for our country.
Our batters Chamari Athapaththu and Prasadani Weerakkody are capable of winning matches for us and I’m sure Shashikala Siriwardene and I can take the lead as regards bowling. I’m confident we are good as a group and capable of taking on the challenges we expect in the tournament.
As for our group matches, we have some fine teams to look out for early on. These teams are competitive and experienced in batting and bowling. We will be competing with some formidable teams but we are confident that we have the ability to beat them.
India is a leading side and Ireland too cannot be taken lightly. We had defeated India in the 2013 World Cup but we had a different team then. A lot of our senior players are no longer part of the team. This is a new team with fresh faces.
The expectations from a team are always higher when they are playing on home grounds. The tournament will be lot more in focus in our own country and I feel we should enjoy that. It is a chance for the girls to be in the limelight and make use of every opportunity on the field.
Women’s cricket has improved a lot in the past few years and we have to ensure that we are able to compete with the best. The game is becoming faster and more competitive and we have to keep pace with it.