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Atapattu promises more flexible approach

Marvan Atapattu has promised an innovative approach during his tenure as Sri Lanka's one-day captain, starting against Pakistan on Saturday.

india Updated: May 10, 2003 11:35 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Marvan Atapattu has promised an innovative approach during his tenure as Sri Lanka's one-day captain, starting against Pakistan on Saturday.

The triangular series also involving New Zealand will be Atapattu's first tournament in charge since the selectors decision to split the one-day and test captaincy.

"My feeling is that we have become somewhat predictable and one-dimensional," said the 32-year-old Atapattu.

"Our opponents have become wiser to our gameplans and we must become more flexible in our pattern of play. We should be able to react to new and unexpected situations," he added.

Atapattu has demanded a big improvement in fielding and wants the back-up bowlers to provide better support for Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas.

"We have to focus 100 percent more on our fielding," he said. "We used to be renowned for it but this area has been neglected.

"I think the bowlers need to believe in themselves a bit more," he said. "To be a good fast bowler you must be positive and strong - we have to get the right thoughts into their heads."

Sri Lanka start as favourites because of their excellent home one-day record - they have not lost a series or tournament since the Independence Cup in 1998.

Middle-order batsmen Mahela Jayawardene and Russel Arnold and wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana have been recalled, with Jayawardene set to lead the side if Atapattu fails to recover from his collision with New Zealand's Daniel Vettori in the last test.

Pakistan are the form team having won the recent Sharjah Cup convincingly, but their captain Rashid Latif is expecting a more difficult test.

"The tour to Sri Lanka is going to be much tougher and I have already told my players what they can expect there," he said.

"On current form, I would rate New Zealand and Sri Lanka as better teams than our present outfit. This Pakistan side is still in the process of rebuilding and finding its feet."

New Zealand have been bolstered by the arrivals of all rounder Chris Cairns and one-day specialists Chris Harris, Andre Adams, Kyle Mills and Chris Nevin.

"We have a couple of experienced heavyweights coming back into the side and are looking forward to the series a lot," said New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming.

First Published: May 08, 2003 14:41 IST