Sri Lanka's coach, Chris Silverwood, finds optimism in his team's humbling loss to India in the Asia Cup final as they prepare for the upcoming World Cup.
Silverwood thinks that a reality check was necessary, and he believes it will be beneficial in the long term.
This assessment comes in the wake of Sri Lanka's monumental 10-wicket defeat to India in the Asia Cup final. In that title match, Sri Lanka could only manage 50 runs, and India reached their target in less than seven overs.
Sri Lanka coach sees the silver lining before the World Cup
“Sometimes a bit of a kick up the rear end is not the worst thing going into a World Cup,” the former England international said.
“Maybe this is just a wake-up call, that for us to compete against teams like India, Australia, and New Zealand – those types of guys – we have to be on top of our game. Maybe there's something we can use out of this that can motivate us heading into that World Cup.
“Clearly it was a bad day in the office. Clearly, we came up against a very high-class bowling unit.
“It was a shame to finish the way we did. It's one of those things we can't dwell on too much because we've got a big tournament coming up. There are lessons to learn and questions to be asked in the dressing room. We have to move forward.”
Silverwood praises his team’s Asia Cup final run
Silverwood, nonetheless, did give credit to Sri Lanka for their impressive campaign leading up to the final. They achieved victories against Bangladesh twice, secured a thrilling win against Pakistan, and narrowly bested Afghanistan. It should be noted that Afghanistan was pursuing a net run-rate objective in that particular match.
Silverwood also commended Matheesha Pathirana, who topped the chart with 11 wickets at an average of 24.45. Notably, Wellalage and Pathirana would not have been part of the playing XI if Sri Lanka's preferred bowling attack had been fit.
“We played some very good cricket to get to the final. We had to fight very hard. For me, it was an achievement.”
He took special delight in allrounder Dunith Wellalage's performance, as he ended up sharing the second position on the tournament's wicket-takers list, securing 10 wickets with an average of 17.90.
“But if we take today out of the equation, we've seen two youngsters put their hands up, in Dunith Wellalage, and Matheesha Pathirana. We've seen two of them really put up their hands on the world stage.
“Sadeera [Samarawickrama]'s played some good knocks (he hit 215 runs at 35.83). [Kusal] Mendis has come back into form (270 runs at 45). But clearly, consistency is something we need to bring into the game.”