SL hope for advantage in familiar conditions
Sri Lanka coach Paul Farbrace believes the experience of having played in Bangladesh over the past six weeks could work in favour of his team during the World T20.
Sri Lanka have been in Bangladesh since the last week of January, winning across all three formats in a bilateral series with the hosts, before claiming the Asia Cup title there this month. That victory was the result of many players putting in good performances and being on top of their game, going into the World T20.
"The advantage we have is we play our four group matches in Chittagong, where we played our two T20 matches against Bangladesh," Farbrace said. "We know the conditions and we got good balance in our squad, that's a great thing. We give ourselves a good chance if we are focussed and we practice properly"
However, it was important to not let complacency set in, given the team's recent record, Farbrace said. "The key is we don't get too overly carried away by the success we had on that Bangladesh tour. When we get back to Bangladesh we just need to make sure we are switched on and we are ready."
Having turned it around from some difficult positions of late, Sri Lanka go into the tournament with a good amount of self-belief, Fabrace said. "We would have to say that we are one of the teams going there thinking that we have got a good chance of doing well in the competition. The belief within the squad is such that we can win games from any position."
Sri Lanka recovered from 50 for 6, chasing 121, in the second T20 against Bangladesh, and then went from 67 for 8 to a match-winning 180 in the first ODI.
"One thing that Sri Lanka cricket has never been in doubt about is the fight which the players have," Farbrace said. "If we had thrown in the towel [in those matches] and said we are not going to win, that could have happened. But it never happened at any stage because the boys genuinely believed they could win. That's where the confidence grew and grew."
Farbrace believes to be successful at T20 cricket, fielding is a vital component. That is one aspect the team has been working a lot on, he said. "That's an area which can make or break a team in T20s. We've made a conscious effort to really work hard on our fielding and to make sure our fitness levels allow our fielding to be as good as it can be. Ruwan Kalpage [the fielding coach] has done a great job over the last three-four weeks.
"We sat down and said that we had to really work hard on our fielding and that's something we focused a lot - not just the techniques but our awareness in the field, understanding fielding positions, understanding what we need to be there for and really thinking about the game as best we can whilst we are fielding."
Sri Lanka open their campaign against South Africa on March 22. England, New Zealand and one other qualifying team will make up their group.