SL take on Ind in tri-series opener today
Sri Lankan cricket is looking to regain its pride and the Nidahas Trophy has emerged as the ideal platform to stage a turnaround as the country celebrates its 70th anniversary of independence and also Sri Lanka Cricket's 70th year when the hosts take on India in the tournament opener at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo today. The match is scheduled to start from 7:30 pm (Bangladesh time).
The third team in the tri-nation tournament is Bangladesh, and the Tigers will play their first match against India on Thursday.
The intensity among the officials of Sri Lanka Cricket yesterday, as they were busy putting the final touches to decorate the stadium premises, hinted at how much this T20I tournament means to the country.
It may not be as significant for India as it is for Sri Lanka and Bangladesh; regular Indian skipper Virat Kohli -- along with MS Dhoni, Hardik Pandya and Bhuvneshwar Kumar -- was rested whereas Bangladesh even flirted with the idea of carrying an injured Shakib Al Hasan just for the morale boost the presence of their most experienced player may provide.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, after a successful tour of Bangladesh in January-February under new coach Chandika Hathurusingha, have started to dream of reprising their glory days when they were one of the toughest and most skilful teams in world cricket.
However, Hathurusingha did try to keep the excitement and expectations to a manageable limit when he was asked whether it will be a big game against an in-form Indian side.
“There is no such thing as a big match or small match. It is just another match for us. We prepare the same for every game. The only difference is we assess the strengths and weaknesses of the other team,” Hathurusingha told reporters after a training session at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo yesterday.
The Lankan coach did admit that India are the favourites for the series, but added that the series win in Bangladesh will give his team an extra edge.
There was a colourful trophy unveiling ceremony in the presence of the three captains and the managers later in the evening, where Bangladesh skipper Mahmudullah informed that it is a great platform for his charges to make a statement.
“We did miss him [Shakib] during the tri-series at home and it's a big loss for us not to have him in the side, but at the same time it's a challenge for the others and a great platform to make a statement,” said Mahmudullah.
While Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal said that the series win against Bangladesh has been a confidence booster for his side ahead of the tri-series, India skipper Rohit Sharma likened T20 cricket to English Premier League football, where any team can win on a given day.