Jayawardene warns his team ahead of Asia Cup

Published: Sunday, June 22, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Colombo: After a string of poor performances, Sri Lankan captain Mahela Jayawardene is apprehensive ahead of the Asia Cup scheduled to be played in Pakistan from June 24.

''When you are not winning matches obviously you do lose confidence. That's when we tried a few different combinations and tried to bring in a few different personnel. When you do that it also unsettles the side,'' Jayawardene said prior to his team's departure for Pakistan.

''We just need to have a lot of belief and trust in the guys we've got, make sure we give them full confidence so that they believe in themselves to go and do the job.

''We are working really hard and we have to start putting things right, there's no doubt about it," he added. ''The guys want to do well and the opportunity is there. The Asia Cup is a big tournament.

It's in our hands and our responsibility to get the job done,'' he added.

Sri Lanka has fared poorly over the last 13 months, winning only eight out of 22 ODIs, and three of those wins came against minnows Bangladesh at home.

''We haven't been consistent with our all-round performances,'' Jayawardene admitted.

''Either we make mistakes in our batting or bowling or in the field. If you are to compete and beat sides consistently you need to get it right more often. That's an area we have spoken about, set game plans and try to execute them. If you are to do well overall you have to be consistent,'' Jayaweredene said.

Sri Lanka will miss pace spearhead Lasith Malinga and all-rounder Fervez Maharoof during the Asia Cup due to injuries.

Jayawardene insisted, though, that their absence will not have a negative effect on the team.

''We had the right personnel. People may get injured or get dropped but whoever is there need to get the job done. There are no excuses for that,'' he said.

When asked about Sri Lanka's biggest threats at the Asia Cup, Jayawardene pointed out India and hosts Pakistan but added that it would be dangerous to write off Bangladesh.

''We need to make sure we respect them for who they are and play a proper game,'' he warned.

He also said the games against India and Pakistan will test Sri Lanka's abilities to the hilt.

''We've got the same strength in all departments. We can definitely pit ourselves against them and see where we stand right now as a team.

''It's a good challenge for us,'' he stated.

The Asia Cup is due to start on June 24 with Sri Lanka taking on Bangladesh in their opening match on June 25 at Lahore.


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