World Cup qualification not SL’s immediate concern: Gurusinha


World Cup qualification not SL’s immediate concern: Gurusinha

• Last updated on Fri, 31 Mar, 2017, 06:48 PM Rex Clementine in Colombo

Sri Lanka are 0-1 down heading into the third and final ODI against Bangladesh © AFP

Sri Lanka will not slip below Bangladesh in the ICC Rankings if they lose the current three-match series, but if their poor form continues, they will be in danger of not earning automatic qualification for the ICC Cricket World Cup in 2019 in England and Wales.

West Indies, one time world beaters, are not going to be part of the Champions Trophy in June as they failed to finish among the top eight teams in ICC Rankings. Sri Lanka could face similar predicament for the World Cup as Bangladesh, Pakistan and West Indies are breathing down their neck. Sri Lanka are currently ranked sixth. Only the top seven ranked teams and hosts England gain automatic qualification for the World Cup by the cut off date of September 30.

“We have until the India series that we’re playing here in July and August. That’s going to impact it, but if we try to look too much at the end result we’re going to struggle. We need to look at every game and that’s what we’re doing. Every game we’ve got to win, and we’ve got to move away from thinking of those kinds of things and be consistent. The issue is that we’re not consistent,” Asanka Gurusinha, Sri Lanka’s cricket manager, told journalists on Friday (March 31).

Bangladesh won the first game in the current series by 90 runs in Dambulla on Saturday and Sri Lanka were unlucky as the second ODI was washed off after they posted a huge 311 on Tuesday also at Dambulla.

“I thought we played well in the second ODI to get to 311. For our bad luck it rained – it would have been a good game. The boys have been training well. The confidence is high. But they all know it’s a new game tomorrow. It’s SSC and the wicket looks a really good one. We’re expecting a great game tomorrow. The pressure is there. Whether we have won the series or not, the pressure is always there,” Gurusinha added.

Gurusinha backed struggling opener Danushka Gunathilaka, who has managed a duck and nine in the first two games of the series. “I know he hasn’t scored runs, but my philosophy is to try and support people and have a stable squad. That’s what I’m focusing on to have a stable cricket team. That’ll give confidence to the players and confidence to everyone,” Gurusinha remarked.

The home team’s sloppy fielding in the first ODI came under heavy criticism with local media labelling Sri Lanka as the worst fielding team in the world. Since the first ODI, the team has been emphasizing a lot on lifting fielding levels.

“We did a lot of fielding drills under match conditions – under pressure. Then we understood their attitude, and they started fielding well in practice. It’s what you practice that you take into the middle. I’m definitely not saying we’ve got there – it’s still improving. But my plan is to have them at 100% when we get to England for the Champions Trophy,” Gurusinha noted.

© Cricbuzz