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February 8, 2015

Angelo Mathews


Q. First of all, can I just ask you about Lasith? How was his ankle and how did he come through this morning's session?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, he's progressed really well, and he's back to his full fitness. So it's just the amount of practice that he needs, and he's bowling at a hundred percent, so we hope he'll be fit, 100% fit for the games.

Q. Can you elaborate for us now, will he be fit to face New Zealand in six days time?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, of course he'll be fit. He'll be fit.

Q. How's the rest of the team? You obviously had some pretty disappointing news. How does the injury affect your squad and how big a blow is that?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, all 15 members are very important, and I think if you lose one member it's going to be a big blow. I think we've had unfortunate news last afternoon. Everyone's dream is to play a World Cup, and unfortunately if you get injured just before the games, your dreams are shattered. But hopefully he'll be good back into his normal routine as soon as possible.

Q. How much of a boost is it for your team to have a fit Lasith heading into a World Cup?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Definitely it is a great advantage for us. We all know that he's a great dead bowler, and he swings it with a new ball as well. He's got so many variations up his sleeves. It is great to have him on the team because he's our premier fast bowler.

Q. Do you feel that gives you an instant psychological edge over your opponents to have him on that starting level?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, definitely, with the amount of experience he has, he's played almost 200 games now for us, and he's performed exceptionally well for us for the past five or six years. He's been our premier fast bowler, to have the premier fast bowler back on your team is great news.

Q. Angelo, he's obviously the big difference between your squad and the series you just lost to New Zealand. Do you think that is the difference between winning and losing a one-off game against New Zealand?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Probably. You know, but you can't write off the rest of the bowlers that we have. We've got fairly experienced bowlers. But obviously that is an X-factor. But you know, it's just that in a one-off game, the others can also come into the party. We also expect Lasith to do well, but I'm pretty sure with the amount of talent that we've got on our side, anyone can do the job for us.

Q. So you're not putting all your eggs in one basket then?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Not really, mate.

Q. And have you got a replacement for Dhammika? Is it sorted?
ANGELO MATHEWS: We still haven't decided. The chairman select is joining us tomorrow and we'll probably have a chat tomorrow and decide.

Q. The two new balls, you're used to that now. You've had the series here. Is it something that suits Sri Lanka? Maybe it doesn't suit the teams from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh. Do you think it does?
ANGELO MATHEWS: We are happy to walk into the World Cup as underdogs. No one really expects us to win. But I think with the two new balls that we've played fairly a lot of games probably in the last couple of years, and we are quite used to it. But in the subcontinent, the Wickets are slow and low. But the Wickets here are very different. It's about getting used to the conditions, getting used to the Wickets here. We've been playing in New Zealand for the past one and a half months, and I think we've adapted ourselves to these conditions and hopefully we can do well.

Q. Just picking up on what you said about the last six weeks. Your thoughts on the Seven ODI series?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Well, we probably didn't do as well as we could have, especially we've found ways to lose games rather than win games, and I think that was a down fall. I think either bowling or betting our fielding lacked consistency right throughout. But we hope to get that right in this tournament.

Q. South Africa's coach Russell Domingo picked out Sri Lanka as one of the team that's he thinks South Africa are better prepared than because you've been out here for such a long time and South Africa has been at home. Do you think it makes a difference? Would you have preferred to have spent more time at home before the tournament or is it good to come here and get used to conditions?
ANGELO MATHEWS: It's always good to come here and get used to the conditions, I think. But when from the quarterfinals onwards it's anyone's game. I think getting used to the conditions as much as you can and as fast as you can will help you, but I think you've got to play your best cricket to win against these. These teams, almost every team is even, and you can't take any team lightly, and you've got to be on your guard all the time.

Q. Not taking any names, but there are three players in the last World Cup. How much of that sort of weighs down on the team's mind when you talk about games to win the World Cup?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, I mean, we've got loads of experience. We've got players who have played. Mahela who is playing his fifth World Cup, and we have Kumar, Dilshan and Prasad who have played World Cups before. That adds a lot to the team. I think the experience in this and on the big stage definitely helps. But I think everyone needs to put a lot in if you are to win a World Cup. But I think we are not looking too far ahead. We just want to take one game at a time, do our very best and try to move on.

Q. Tomorrow's game, does it mean anything beyond warming up for the World Cup seeing that it's between two of the bigger teams in the world? Is there something to play for in winning it?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Well, I think more than winning it, you've got to get yourself prepared, I think. You've got to do what you have to do to get yourself prepared for the big games. I think we've played enough cricket. It's just that you need to keep your intensity levels high to practice. The bowler should practice the lanes, lines, fields, and also the batter should get a good feel of the Wicket because we play the first game well on their grounds. So I think it's about feeling good. It's about doing your basics right, and obviously winning will help.

Q. Can you just give us your thoughts on perhaps the format of the tournament, and also the fact that the hotspots not being used?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Well, I think the hot spot is not used for the consistency because you can't have a hot spot for one game and you can't have a hot spot in another game, it's a bit inconsistent. So for the consistency sake, you don't have hot spot. But I think Sneako, having Sneako is really good, and also the DRS will help, and I think regardless of whatever technology you use, you've still got to play good cricket and be positive and aggressive and try to win.

Q. (No microphone).
ANGELO MATHEWS: You're talking about --

Q. Just the fact that poor play and you can probably afford to drop a game here and then it's down to three one-off games. It's pretty cut throat there at the end, isn't it?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, as I said before, you've still got to win the first round games. As I said before, you can't take any team lightly. They all can play well on that day. When it comes to the quarterfinals onwards, it's on that day whoever plays better cricket will win, obviously. So you still have chances up to the quarterfinals, but after the quarterfinals, you don't really have a chance for mistakes, so you just have to try to keep the momentum going and play positive cricket.
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