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February 21, 2015

Angelo Mathews


Q. Ever since the last game how have been your preparations leading up to this game?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, preparation has been really good. We worked extremely hard the past few days to prepare ourselves for this game because we have to take it very seriously. We can't be complacent and we can't take it lightly. We'll just be very well prepared and be up for the challenge.

Q. There's been a lot of talk on the team's fielding. During the last couple days, any special stress been placed on the discipline of fielding?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, absolutely. We've been doing fielding every single day, and we look to try and improve on that especially. We know we haven't done well. We haven't been consistent. We are trying to be consistent in our fielding, and we've worked extremely hard, so hopefully we can carry through to the next game.

Q. Are you planning to play your full side or are you planning on resting some of the players?
ANGELO MATHEWS: No, definitely we are playing the full team. The best possible level will be on the par tomorrow because every game is important for us. Whether you play Afghanistan or Australia, every game is important, so we'll take every single game very seriously, and we'll play the best 11 possible on that day.

Q. Is there any possibility of naming a 12th or what changes you are looking for?
ANGELO MATHEWS: We still haven't decided on the 12th. The wicket looks really good, so there won't be too many changes to be honest, but we'll decide once training is over and after having a chat with the selectors we'll decide on the possible 11 or 12 tomorrow.

Q. It was a deep concern about your late middle order batting. Is there any possibility that you'll try and let your late middle order players to gain confidence?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, I mean, we've talked about it so much in the past few days, and then on so many occasions we have batting meetings. Just one thing that we want to make sure that we bat through the 40, the first 40, and try and not lose too many wickets. So up front our plan is to try and bat through the innings and then launch at the end, which we normally do, but hopefully we canĀ  all seven batters will perform tomorrow.

Q. You played a couple of games during the Bilateral Series. What sort of conditions do you expect?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Look, well, generally the wicket is pretty good. It has a little bit of grass, but now it's much less. It's dried grass, so the bounce and the carry will be the same right throughout the game, and it might not turn that much, but hopefully the bounce will stay the same.

Q. You've not had a game for a week now, but leading up the next week is going to be crucial because you'll be playing three games in seven days, and you'll be traveling to Australia and back, as well. How is it looking ahead to that tough schedule?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, after the first game we had a fairly long break, and in the next few days, like you said, we are going to play three games in seven days, and that's going to be a quick turnaround for us, so hopefully we can get the momentum from tomorrow. The momentum is very important when you play quick turnaround games, so hopefully we can do the right things and keep that momentum right throughout.

Q. The catching has hurt you right through your time in New Zealand. Can you pinpoint a time when the standard slipped, and did you have a reason behind why things haven't been as good as maybe they were early last year?
ANGELO MATHEWS: I think, well, lack of concentration obviously. When you do mistakes, obviously you lose your concentration, and that split second can turn the game around. So I think you've got to have your focus right throughout the game and not let those chances slip away. You've got to grab all of it and restrict them to the lowest total as possible.

Q. As you said, there's been a lot of stress on fielding. Do you think this urgency could have come perhaps a year ago rather than waiting for the last moment?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Well, I think we've done a lot of training. We've done a lot of hard work with our fielding, but it's just that the consistency levelĀ  one game we'll be extremely good, the next game we've dropped our standards a little bit. I think our consistency level is the problem, and some days our fielding was outstanding. So I think we are not a bad fielding unit, it's just that we need to be consistent with our performances.

Q. What do you know about Afghanistan? What sort of input do you have about them?
ANGELO MATHEWS: They're a very dangerous team. As I said before, you can't take them light because they can upset a team, and they've got nothing to lose, and they'll just come out here and try to be positive and aggressive, and we expect that. We have to expect a good challenge. We can't just run through them. We've got to fight really hard from ball one to ball 300 probably, and fight it out and just take it as a testplaying nation.

Q. It's not that you've had a tough 12 months since 2014; you won an ODI series in England, you won the Asia Cup, beat Pakistan at home. During these tough times you must be telling the players to look back at those good memories, as well?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, definitely. We've had a really good time in the past 12 or 14 months, especially we've beaten England and created history there. So we can do it. We know that we can do it. It's just that we need to believe in ourselves, not give up until the last moment, because winning the Champions Trophy, as well, we lost the first game to New Zealand and came back really hard in English conditions beating England and Australia, so we've got the capacity to do it. We've got the skill to do it. We just have to believe in ourselves, and go out there and do it.

Q. In hindsight could that be a good thing that people are not having too much hope on SriĀ Lanka?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, as I said before the tournament, we are happy to walk into the tournament as underdogs. Not many people expect us to win, but we know and we believe in ourselves that we can do it. The hunger is there within the team, and the team certainly believes that we can do it, so hopefully we can start from tomorrow.

Q. Back to the fielding, you've been playing New Zealand obviously in the last few months. They obviously have been a very good fielding side. Do you look at them and maybe learn things off them? And if so, what have you learnt?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Yeah, definitely when you look at all the games that have been played well in the recent past, especially in the World Cup, the better fielding sides always stop a bowl 15, 20 runs, and they take those crucial games, and they don't give the good batsmen a chance. So that's what you have to do. We certainly can do it, it's just that our concentration has slipped away, but hopefully we canĀ  we expect a clinical performance tomorrow, and hopefully we can do it.

Q. SriĀ Lanka Cricket announced this week that bowling consultant Rumesh Ratnayake's term will be extended. You already have a bowling coach, fastbowling coach, so what's the role he's going to play?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Well, definitely Vaas and Rumesh have been working together in the past few weeks, and they've brought a lot of thoughts on the table. As we all know, fastbowling coach is not an easy job, and especially in the World Cup, you need some sort of hand. I think Rumesh has been tremendous working together with Vaas, so hopefully they can produce good results for us.
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