Lasith Malinga says Sri Lanka must ‘fix mentality’ to start winning again | india vs sri lanka 2017 | Hindustan Times
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Lasith Malinga says Sri Lanka must ‘fix mentality’ to start winning again

Lasith Malinga, one short of the 300-wicket mark but tasked with leading the team for Thursday’s fourth one-dayer at the Premadasa Stadium, said Sri Lanka still had the depth to bounce back.

india vs sri lanka 2017 Updated: Aug 30, 2017 21:04 IST
N. Ananthanarayanan
N. Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, Colombo
India vs Sri Lanka,Sri Lanka vs India,Lasith Malinga
Sri Lankan captain Lasith Malinga inspects the pitch during a practice session in Colombo on Wednesday.(PTI)

Sri Lanka pace spearhead Lasith Malinga believes the team will have to toughen up and execute better if it wants to compete against India in an ODI series the hosts trail 3-0 with two games left.

Malinga, one short of the 300-wicket mark but tasked with leading the team for Thursday’s fourth one-dayer at the Premadasa Stadium, said Sri Lanka still had the depth to bounce back.

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“There’s no shortage of talent and skill in our team, but there is a shortcoming in how we execute that. We need to fix our mentality,” Malinga said on the match eve.

“My main goal is to try and instill a mentality whereby players are able to deal with tough situations and persevere. If that is successful, we will be able to get a good result tomorrow.”

Sri Lanka cricket is in crisis. After the third ODI in Pallekele ended with fans throwing bottles into the ground to express their angst, the selection committee headed by former skipper Sanath Jayasuriya tendered its resignation.

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On the eve of the match, interim coach, Nic Pothas, was in a long conversation with SLC president, Thilanga Sumathipala, at the stadium. Malinga and team manager, Asanka Gurusinha, who also quit as selector, joined in after a while.

Malinga said: “I feel captaincy is a good challenge for me. At the moment, we have lost a few matches, yes. I have played for the last 14 years for the national team, and I still feel we have good young players, and a few experienced players also.

“This is the time we have to stand up and give confidence to young players, that still we are good enough to play international cricket.

People think we are not top of the table, but we can change that.”

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Malinga has been under fire since ending a long injury-forced layoff to return for the June ICC Champions Trophy. However, he defended his measly returns, having taken just one wicket in three games.

“I didn’t play for 19 months because of injury. I’ve only played a couple of series since then. Now I feel I am getting better. Everyone knows how major my leg injuries are. Now I feel really comfortable to bowl 10 overs.

“As a bowler I’ve not been able to get wickets in the last couple of series. A lot of people have talked about that. In fact there has been more talk in the last couple of months than in the previous 14 years. (But) I’m used to that.”

Malinga said he was not fretting about his impending milestone and there was no upheaval in the camp. “I have no special aim to get 300 wickets. I play to get wickets in every match. I’m ready to play until 2023.”

First Published: Aug 30, 2017 19:59 IST