The Sri Lanka national team leaves for the Champions Trophy in England today after intense training. Coach Graham Ford said the team is hoping for an upset.
Speaking to media in Colombo yesterday the South African said preparing for the tournament was one of his biggest challenges.
Ford said “We have to be realistic and accept that we go into this tournament as underdogs. Sometimes that is a good place to be.”
He declined to identify the main opponents but added Sri Lanka was up against some “fantastic players”, and they were in danger of lowering their guard.
Ford said the team will be going at it one game at a time.
Ford added “There is some high quality performers in every team. The group we are up against has some fantastic cricketers. We have to be on our best”.
He said the Sri Lankans, currently ranked sixth in ODI games, had made progress in recent months thanks to intense training and could return from the tournament “with smiling faces”.
Earlier this month, Sri Lanka hired famed South African paceman Allan Donald as a fast bowling consultant ahead of the Champions Trophy starting on June 1.
Sri Lankan skipper Angelo Mathews said the team had been improving and his colleagues were aware that there was no room for “hiccups.”
Mathews said the Sri Lanka teams will definitely improve day by day claiming the boys are up to the challenge.
The 15-man squad led by Mathews completed a week-long training session on Sunday.
They went through strength and altitude training in the central hill region of Kandy to prepare for conditions in England.
Also joining the media briefing President of SLC Thilanga Sumathipala said the Sri Lanka has outstanding and talented cricketers capable of winning the ICC Champions Trophy.
Lanka batsman Chamara Kapugedara speaking to NewsRadio the team is prepared for all challenges that may come their way.
He said the team is wel prepared well for the encounter, noting the 15 day training programme was a success.
Kapugedara also added he believed like all such competitions a good challenge can be expected because Sri Lanka will compete with top teams. He said nevertheless the team is prepared to face all upcoming challenges.
The team led by Angelo Matthews and vice captain Upul Tharanga will take part in 4 training matches ahead of the competition which begins on the 1st of June.
Under the B category Sri Lanka will lock horns with South Africa, India and Pakistan.
The A category consists of Australia, England, New Zealand and Bangladesh.