Mickey Arthur admits qualifier will be cutthroat

Published October 18, 2021
Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur is seen in this file photo. — Reuters/File
Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur is seen in this file photo. — Reuters/File

ABU DHABI: Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur believes the battle to reach the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup will be ‘cutthroat’.

The 2014 champions tackle debutants Namibia on Monday in their first match of a qualifying round which also features Ireland and the Netherlands.

Namibia are the lowest-ranked team at the event at 19 in the world.

Only the top two progress to the Super 12s and Arthur is aware of how crucial an opening win will be at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s really important, this is a bit of a cutthroat little qualifier, you’ve got three games and you’ve got to hit the ground running without a doubt,” Arthur told a news conference on Sunday.

Sri Lanka have been dogged by problems in the build-up to the World Cup.

Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka and wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella were all banned for a year for breaching the team’s coronavirus bubble in England in July.

Of their 12 T20 matches this year, Sri Lanka have won three and lost nine. They suffered series whitewashes against England and South Africa.

However, they won a series 2-1 against a second-string Indian team in August to win back some respect in the cricket-crazy nation of 21 million people.

Arthur brings plenty of experience to his role having coached his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

He has former captain and 2014 world champion Mahela Jayawardene alongside him as a team mentor in the UAE. “I think we’ve prepared really well, we had 10 days in Colombo as well and then against Oman [in a warm-up] it was great for us and allowed us to look at different combinations.

“Players got into some really good form, we sorted out exactly the brand of cricket we wanted to play, and then coming here, we’ve just capitalised a little bit on that and so I couldn’t be happier.”

Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus, meanwhile, said on Sunday all of the pressure is on Sri Lanka.

“We are going in there with a permanent underdog tag and that is always nice, makes us nice and free,” said 26-year-old Erasmus. “Maybe they are a bit under pressure because of recent results and that puts a team up for the taking, and if we do it well, we can take them down.

“We’ve played lots of T20 cricket against high-quality opposition, and we have travelled a bit so we are accustomed to playing in different conditions, playing against different skills.”

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Wheat price crash
Updated 20 May, 2024

Wheat price crash

What the government has done to Punjab’s smallholder wheat growers by staying out of the market amid crashing prices is deplorable.
Afghan corruption
20 May, 2024

Afghan corruption

AMONGST the reasons that the Afghan Taliban marched into Kabul in August 2021 without any resistance to speak of ...
Volleyball triumph
20 May, 2024

Volleyball triumph

IN the last week, while Pakistan’s cricket team savoured a come-from-behind T20 series victory against Ireland,...
Border clashes
19 May, 2024

Border clashes

THE Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier has witnessed another series of flare-ups, this time in the Kurram tribal district...
Penalising the dutiful
19 May, 2024

Penalising the dutiful

DOES the government feel no remorse in burdening honest citizens with the cost of its own ineptitude? With the ...
Students in Kyrgyzstan
Updated 19 May, 2024

Students in Kyrgyzstan

The govt ought to take a direct approach comprising convincing communication with the students and Kyrgyz authorities.