In an expression of buoyancy Sri Lanka and India looked forward to the cricket ahead with Skipper Upul Tharanga, whop will be fitting in for the indisposed Dinesh Chandimal, and Head Coach, Nic Pothas reasoning that they had struck a balance while Indian Captain Virat Kohli and Head Coach, Ravi Shastri threw out the gauntlet that their mission was to play ruthlessly to be the supreme power in world cricket. Upul Tharanga said, “We believe we have improved in all forms although it was unfortunate to lose the ODI series to Zimbabwe. But in the Test series we chased down 389 which speaks of focus and cimbabweommitment. We expect to move forward with this young team”.
Tharanga was quick to note that India was always tough opposition, and it would be an ideally testing tour for Sri Lanka having lost in the last home tour in 2015.
While Pothas noted that the Zimbabwe fling had been of getting a feel of the players, it had helped to further evolve in game plan for the Indians, it was an interestingly highly cheerful Indian Captain Kohli who found Sri Lanka as an enjoyable destination as he had in the past. In fact, his early years had found solid fermentation playing in Sri Lanka. “Playing in Sri Lanka was a great stepping stone experience to the big stage. As such, I have fond memories of Sri Lanka, and look forward very much to the cricket at hand,” Kohli beamed.
Of course, the No.1 test batsman in the world made no qualms that no quarters would be given nor taken in the middle. “We know how strong Sri Lanka is at home, and above all we are well equipped to meet any challenge away. Being so is India’s strong point of playing under pressure in unfamiliar conditions. We are game to play in any given surface. That has been India’s task making progress in becoming the No.1 Test team in the world. It has not come on a platter. We have worked hard for it. So much so that today India is all well conditioned to play anywhere in the world and win,” aired Kohli.
The 28-year old ace in the pack, who arrived on the big stage six years ago and has fast graduated as a genius with the bat for his fast scoring appetite for runs and accumulating mannerism, and is to India the Prince of cricket discovered from Delhi as was Sachin Tendulkar, the Princely find from Mumbai, was as friendlily sporting to wish Sri Lanka success in the tussle ahead; but was like granite that he was leading a side out to bleed the opposition in nothing short of a cricketing onslaught on all fronts. The fact that 2015 was the spade ground from which India soared from a low to a high in which it basks today was more the resonating reason why he cherished playing again in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) Secretary, Mohan De Silva performed the initial welcoming honours extending a warm and appreciative hand of friendship and goodwill to Kohli and his team and Coach Shastri. Sri Lanka always treasured cricketing exchanges with India at home, he observed at a Colombo hotel press confab.
Sri Lanka and India play 3 Tests, 5 ODIs and a one-off T20.
By Srian Obeysekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-