USA head coach Pubudu Dassanayake has said he is confident his side will produce a strong performance at ICC WCL Division Four in Los Angeles next month, despite the team 'not being used to the workload.' After coming out of his first five-day national team camp with USA's 22-man squad in Indianapolis this week, Dassanayake admitted there is still plenty of work to do but is encouraged by the initial progress he has seen.
"We are still behind in all three departments and from the last three weeks I would say we have come actually at least a very decent way," Dassanayake told ESPNcricinfo at the conclusion of the five-day camp, which included a 50-over match against a touring Marylebone Cricket Club side.
"Very proud of the boys. They put a lot of effort. These five days was very tough for them. Some of them are not used to this much workload but they would still fight, and went through the whole program. I think especially the areas we are looking for in the batting and I think some of them got it right. At least mentally they are prepared to get what we want."
Early on in the camp, the USA batsmen produced several tentative displays which began with their effort against the MCC when they were bowled out for 141 in 40 overs. However, a spirited bowling effort saw them restrict the MCC to just 94 in reply. As the camp wore on, Dassanayake said he felt the players started to become less nervous about making the final 14-man squad for Division Four and focused on playing freely and positively.
"There are a few areas that I was concerned before I came here, especially the middle order, the fielding side and also the fitness part," Dassanayake said. "But I think we have covered mostly those areas and the boys are very aware of the things they need to be working on in the next five to six weeks. Some of them are given programs to work on for the next couple of weeks."
Despite recent USA coaching regimes where the coach only worked with players during a tournament, Dassanayake said he will be traveling back and forth between New York and Los Angeles over the next five weeks leading into Division Four. Although some USA players may not be able to take time off work to get together in one central location, Dassanayake is committed to travelling to their home bases to focus on specific skills to lay the platform for success in Los Angeles.
"Everyone is aware of what they need to do and now it's about taking the responsibility and working on their own until we meet again, and then there's the Auty Cup before the main tournament to check everybody where we stand again," Dassanayake said. "After Auty Cup, we still have another couple of weeks to improve if we are behind in some areas. Like I said, we are on the right track to get everything done."