• Malinga: We can’t repeat the same mistakes

    Fast bowler Lasith Malinga is adamant Sri Lanka must learn from last week’s opening defeat to New Zealand, ahead of Tuesday’s second World Cup fixture against Afghanistan at Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Wales.

    The Sri Lankans collapsed to 136 all out – and failed to remove even one New Zealand batsman in a heavy 10-wicket loss at the same venue.

    ‘In the last one-and-a-half years or two years, we have been saying, “we have lost one game, move on, do well in the next game.” You can’t play cricket like that. We need to learn lessons from those defeats. There’s no point in forgetting those defeats,’ said Malinga.

    “I have played four World Cups and I still feel the pressure. The other players must also feel it. You can’t play cricket anywhere without feeling the pressure. If a player doesn’t feel that pressure, that excitement, the nervousness, then there’s no chance of getting 100% from that player. They must think to themselves that if they don’t deliver, they have not done justice to the team.’

    The last time Sri Lanka and Afghanistan contested an ODI was during the 2018 Asia Cup in Abu Dhabi. The Afghans won comfortably against opposition that included several members of the current World Cup squad such as Malinga, batsman Angelo Mathews, all-rounder Thisara Perera and others.

    ‘We can’t improve our skills at the moment. We need to become mentally tough. We can’t repeat the same mistakes over and over. As a senior player and as a member of the squad, I hope everyone will have that fear of not doing their duty and feel the shame of losing. Everyone must realise that it’s a must that they perform, because if not, our cricket will not go forward,’ added Malinga.

    ‘I hope everyone will have that fear because they have been selected as the best 15 to represent the country, not to be passengers. It’s essential that they identify different game situations and support each other in the middle.’

    Photo: Getty Images

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