Zimbabwe’s cricket team received international praise during the year’s first ODI series in India, labelling them as top contenders against one of the cricket giants of the world.
Angelo Mathews, captain of the Sri Lankan cricket team, recently stated that he sees Zimbabwe as worthy opponents taking part in the tri-nations one-day international (ODI) series campaign.
He stated that he would like his team to strive against Zimbabwe during their match today at Mirpur Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium in Dhaka and to not rest on Zimbabwe’s defeat earlier in the campaign.
This was said after the Sri Lankans’ less than victorious history in the hosting city of Bangladesh where they have had their fair share of bad memories in 50-over cricket in the past.
Their side had only won once in their last 10 outings in the format against India in Dharamsala. It is no wonder that Mathews feels that his team has a lot to prove during these few matches that are coming up.
The last time that island nation of Sri Lanka faced off against Zimbabwe they suffered a brutal loss with a 3-2 defeat in the five ODI series on their home ground last year in July.
In their very last series touring India last month, the Sri Lankan team experienced another loss in the three ODI series with 2-1.
After these defeats, Chandika Hathurusingha took up the role as head coach after a ridiculous exit from the Bangladesh job. With the change in the team structure, there is quite a big challenge that is looming over the Sri Lankan team as they face off against the Zimbabwean cricket team.
On top of this, Mathews was also reappointed as limited-over captain.
Mathews, a well-known all-rounder in the cricket world, resigned merely six months ago from the same position before he was reinstated. Because he is such a strong player, there are high hopes being placed on him and expectations are soaring just as high. It is believed that he is expected to lead the Sri Lankan cricket team to the 2019 Cricket World Cup.
“I think as a team we would strive as the best and we want to play good cricket. Keep improving every single game. That is our main target.
Winning is very important but when you are building a team for the 2019 World Cup, you have got to look at all the angles. And just build a team and try and play competitive cricket. Not think of the result too much, do the processes well and the results will take care of itself,” Mathews explained during an interview ahead of his face off against Zimbabwe.
This is but one of the first of many matches that he will need to lead in order to prove that he can, in fact, live up to the expectations of taking Sri Lanka well and far into the World Cup of 2019.
He further stated that it is a difficult task to keep a team motivated, especially if the odds are against you and the results are not as desired. However, according to Mathews, team morale is as high as ever and the negative results have not affected the team’s hunger to take a win against Zimbabwe, who is well prepared for their game.
“It is quite difficult to keep the team motivated when you are not doing well. But this is our job. You got to motivate yourselves and the guys are all motivated. Just one or two losses or a few losses here and there should not put us in a bad situation,” Mathews said further.
Mathews rated Zimbabwe very highly and stated that both teams have the ability to end the series on a positive note. “Zimbabwe have played very well in Sri Lanka. It was not only that, we played badly, but they had also played very well. They are a good team and as you know, all their players have come back to play for their country. Now they have got even stronger. It is going to be a challenge and we look forward to it.”