Cricket

Hosts should play at home — Sangakkara

Questions sri Lanka's fixture in mumbai

Sri Lankan captain Kumar Sangakkara is peeved at having to play New Zealand in India. Like hosts India and Bangladesh, he says Sri Lanka should be playing their matches at home.
Image CreditAP

"Why should we play in India against New Zealand when we are the hosts?" asked Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara after playing Zimbabwe here.

Sri Lanka take on New Zealand at Mumbai's Wankhede stadium in the last league match, and this has irritated the skipper. "We were surprised when we learnt that we will have to travel to Mumbai to play the game against New Zealand. I was under the impression that as hosts we play all our matches at home."

Sangakkara made it a point to note that other hosts are not doing the same. "India and Bangladesh, who are also host countries, play all their matches at home. Why should we be exposed to alien conditions?" was his question.

However, the Sri Lanka skipper is not going to get too worried about it now. "It does not matter where we finish, as long as we qualify. We will give our best in the coming matches. Playing the New Zealand game is beyond our control and you can't change that now. We need to be up for the task now."

Sri Lanka will now train at the Pallekele stadium here for their March 10 match against Zimbabwe. "The conditions in Kandy will be favourable for us. We will work hard and do our best against Zimbabwe," he said, disappointed over the rain washed out match against Australia.

Well-poised

"The game was really well-poised at that time. There were just 18 overs to go. We were realistically looking at a score of 250 or slightly more. It could have been a great game of cricket had it continued," he felt.

Sangakkara said his team had planned the match very well and had all the weapons ready to win it. "It was the second game on that track. We had three spinners and they could have been pretty useful on that kind of a track," he said.

Close to 40,000 people had turned up for the match. When asked whether the huge support puts pressure on them, he said: "Crowd support can never be a negative factor. It is always good to have the crowd backing you. After our defeat to Pakistan, these two points would have been very useful. It was an important match and it is a pity that the spectators who had turned up for the match nearly three hours before start could not get to watch a good match."

Referring to Mahela Jayawardene, who got run out while batting with him, Sangakkara said: "We need to work on our running between the wickets. There should not be any confusion and we must make sure to call at the right time. Run-outs can put undue pressure.

"Our fielding too needs to improve because fielding is always a plus point and can provide breakthroughs at times.

"We need to create the energy for it. The most important factor is to play the full 100 overs of a match with full intensity."