With seven regular players including skipper Upul Tharanga and former skipper Lasith Malinga opting out of the upcoming T20I series against Pakistan, it has taken away a little bit shine off the series.
The players have pulled out of the series citing security reasons, and as a result, they have also not been included in the first two games which will be played in the United Arabia Emirates before the teams move to Lahore for the last game.
However, unlike his teammates, newly-appointed captain Thisara Perera is quite upbeat about the security arrangement in Pakistan.
Speaking ahead of the series-opener, the allrounder, who was in the World XI squad that faced Pakistan, said:
“I was there in Lahore with the World XI last month, and I was very impressed with the security that was given to the players. We were given security that is given to a Head of State. We were there for six days and were very impressed with the arrangements.
Perera is also delighted on the prospect of leading his country for the very first time. Before this, the all-rounder had never captained any side not even at the school level.
“Captaining my country is a huge honour for me. It’s a new challenge as well, and I am looking forward to the opportunity,” he said.
Excitement apart, Perera will have his task cut out in the upcoming series. Sri Lanka is low on confidence after being whitewashed in the ODI series, and Perera will have to find a way as soon as possible to motivate his teammates.
Perera said he has already talked to his teammates, urging them to give all for the team and the Islanders can also draw motivation from their performance in the shortest format of the game this year.
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Unlike ODIs, where they have suffered three whitewashes in addition to losing to Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka had won two away series in Australia and South Africa and will be gunning for another series win.
“Every team goes through tough times. It is part and parcel of cricket. As captain, I have given the players confidence and told them not to be selfish but to give all what they’ve got for the team. The selectors also have echoed same sentiments,” Perera said.
“There are some very good talents in this team. Hopefully, we will do something special in this series. We will challenge Pakistan. We have told everyone to play without fear of failure. It doesn’t matter if you fail after giving 100 percent. Everyone knows this is a good opportunity and if someone does well, that will be a huge moment in his career,” he added.