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Tour fruitful for younger bowlers: Jayawardene

While his team has been backed by a string of impressive performances going in to the World Cup, Jayawardene's own form appears to be lost somewhere.

india Updated: Feb 18, 2007 23:51 IST

The times are quite paradoxical for the Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. While his team has been backed by a string of impressive performances going in to the World Cup, his own form appears to be lost somewhere.

And quite ominously, his form had deserted him during the previous World Cup. Is he worried about a repeat?

“No, not really,” said Jayawardene here on Sunday. “Hopefully, I should come out of my bad slump.” He was in the city for the reality cricket show, Cricket Stars.

“I have had a couple of bad months, especially in New Zealand and then here. In between, I have played some domestic cricket and got some good scores. But I don’t know why I could not convert some into good scores in the last few one-dayers.

“I guess I have to spend more time in the middle. Technically, I am okay. I just need to ensure that I get a good start and keep going. I don’t think there will be a repeat of the previous World Cup. Obviously, the mindset is going to be totally different for me as I go into this World Cup.”

The recent series loss in India notwithstanding, Jayawardene believed his team fought well and the experience from this tour is a good investment for the future of Sri Lanka. He also felt that the loss would not hamper their confidence ahead of the World Cup.

“We played well against India. We never gave up and it is only that India played better cricket. They outplayed us in the last game and that’s how we are going to take it,” said Jayawardene.

“There are lot of positives we can take from this tour and it is certainly not a setback for us going in to the World Cup. It was a good experience for the youngsters, especially the bowlers. And that will be a very good investment for the future.

Sri Lanka and India are placed in the same group in the World Cup and Jayawardene said that did not worry him. “For one, India will not have 30,000 fans screaming for them in the Caribbean. Obviously, the atmosphere is going to be completely different at a neutral venue.

“We are going to meet in one month’s time and anything can happen in that period. Everything depends on preparation and peaking at the right time. We will take lot of encouragement from this series and so will the Indians. And I am looking forward to the encounter in the Caribbean.”

Asked about his team’s strengths, Jayawardene said: “I would like to think we have a good all-round side. I think we have an experienced batting line-up. The bowling unit has a lot of variations is an attacking unit. And I am quite enthusiastic about it.”

Jayawardene had called his former skipper Arjuna Ranatunga as the elder brother of the team. Asked what he thought he was to his team, he said, “I am like a younger brother to the team with lot of experienced guys. What I bring in to the team is more enthusiasm. I enjoy the game and I like to see the players enjoying their game.

“It’s been a great twelve months for me. I got a great deputy in Kumar Sangakkara. He is a close friend of mine. We try and make things happen. We take risks in the middle and see whether they work out. We enjoy the challenge. I am not a big brother to the team but probably a younger one.”

Email KR Guruprasad: kr.Guruprasad@hindustantimes.com