“Cannot remember when a opposition team took note of Sri Lankan players”
Former Sri Lankan batter Russell Arnold welcomed Indian all-rounder Hardik Pandya’s praise for the Lankan players ahead of the T20I series. The cricketer-turned-commentator reckons it’s been a long time since anyone took note of Sri Lanka’s players and devised plans against them.
Before the first T20I in Mumbai on Tuesday, December 3, Hardik acknowledged how Sri Lanka took the game away from India during their Asia Cup clash in Dubai last year. The 29-year-old observed that while Sri Lankan players are highly passionate, the economic turmoil in their country has prompted them to put in an even better showing.
Speaking on Byju’s Cricket Live Show on Star Sports, Arnold admitted that the Lankans’ performances have gone up and down for a long time and it’s refreshing to see the opposition praise them. He explained:
“Well from a Sri Lankan point of view, that is a positive because, for a long time, I cannot remember when an opposition team took note of Sri Lankan players. Hardik is actually saying we got to stop these players and look at certain players, otherwise, they haven’t been performing well and haven’t given a message out that they can come out here and win.
“So the way Hardik is coming out and saying things, they are taking note. So Sri Lanka need to build on that and counterattack.”
While the 49-year-old believes the tourists hardly have any X-factor players, they are a collectively good side and must play with freedom. Arnold elaborated:
“Just go out there and play the game they have been playing right through. Of course, Sri Lanka doesn’t have x-factors like an Indian team, let’s face it, maybe a Hasaranga. But as a team collectively, they are good. They all have to stand up and counter the threat especially the tactics of Hardik Pandya who will try to hit them hard and rock them early.”
Dasun Shanaka and Co. eliminated India from the 2022 Asia Cup with a six-wicket win. They then lifted their sixth title after beating Pakistan by 23 runs in the final.
Sri Lanka go down to India by two runs in the final
The Lankans failed to chase down a modest 163 in the first T20I against India at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, losing the contest by two runs. The visitors did commendably with the ball after winning the toss, but India’s final flourish likely cost them the game.
The unbroken 68-run stand between Axar Patel and Deepak Hooda lifted the hosts from 94-5 to 162-5. Debutant Shivam Mavi starred for India with figures of 4-0-22-4, while Umran Malik and Harshal Patel picked up two scalps each.
The two sides will lock horns in the second T20I in Pune on Thursday, January 5.
Also Read: “I will call my home and then sleep” – Shivam Mavi on his magnificent international debut against Sri Lanka in 1st T20I