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May 25, 2017

Angelo Mathews

The Oval, London

Approved by Tim


Q. Unfortunately we have to start on the security issues that have obviously dominated the headlines here over the last few days. And Sri Lanka is a country know all too well about the damage that terrorism can do and the impact it can have on sport. How do you feel about what's gone on over the last few days and how will you feel walking out on to the pitch for that first game knowing everything that's gone on?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Absolutely. We are deeply shocked and saddened by the whole, the incident that has happened in Manchester. And our thoughts and prayers are with those affected.

And, yes, it's obviously horrifying, especially we had to go through 30 years of war, and we all know how bad it is. And we really hope that there will be peace all over the world very soon. We pray for that as well.

But, look, the manager has briefed us, the security personnel have briefed us. We don't have to really worry about what's going on about the security. They've been taken care of. And we just have to go out there and just concentrate on what we have to do. The rest will be taken care of by the respective personnel.

Q. Angelo, in your heart, what do you think the chances are of you lifting that trophy come the final in a few weeks' time?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Look, all the teams are quite even. And I think, especially in the past few months, we've had a few lapses here and there. And nobody will give us a chance, to be really honest. But we're happy to enter the tournament as underdogs, as anyone may call us.

But, you know, we are confident. We prepared extremely well. And, yes, even in Sri Lanka and in England for the past few days it's been really good. So hopefully we can play tomorrow's practice game, get a good practice out of it.

Yes, we're not looking too far ahead. We just want to take one game at a time, try and do our very best in that game and try and win it and look forward to the next.

Q. I'd like to ask you a question about the home team. There are people in England who would have a lot of good feeling about the England team. Do you think maybe this is the best England team in 50-over cricket that you will have seen? This is England's best 50-over team in your long experience in international cricket?
ANGELO MATHEWS: I would call this one of the best. Yes, they have been playing really good cricket at home and away in the past couple of years or so, and they've really gelled together as a team and performed really well, as I said before, at home and away.

They've been playing really good cricket. And as I said, all the teams are quite even. It's just on the given day the guys who make less mistakes will obviously win. So it can be England. It can be us. It can be anyone. So everyone's got a chance in this. No one can write any team off this tournament. And I'm sure it will be a very exciting one.

Q. Just in English conditions, what do you think the strengths of Sri Lankan team will be?
ANGELO MATHEWS: I think we are a team where we stick to our basics. And, look, I mean, we've played pretty well, we've done pretty well in England, especially in 2014. So we will try to take a leaf out of it.

Yes, we are a pretty young, inexperienced team, but I think a few of us have played in England. And as I said before, anyone can change a game at any given stage.

And we've got the talent. We've got the skill in the team. It's just that we have to go out there and express ourselves.

Q. What can you tell us about Malinga, how fit is he? And how critical is he for you once again because he can either run through a team or, I mean, if he's not fit he could be a burden for you? What can you tell us about him?
ANGELO MATHEWS: He's fully fit in terms of fitness. We look forward to utilizing him in the matches. But, yes, he's very keen. And he got here a few days back, very keen to get on the park. He hasn't played 50-over games in the recent past. But he's played a lot of games in the IPL where it's very intense. And he's been doing a lot of training as well.

So he's confident. We are confident. And we all know that he's a match winner. He's proven himself over the past so many years. And he can win us a game single-handedly. So we're looking forward to it. Very much excited.

Q. I appreciate it wasn't a full ODI and you bounced back pretty well. But the defeat against Scotland down at Kent the other day, was that a necessary wake-up call, do you think, for the team, or how do you view a loss like that in this stage building up to the tournament?
ANGELO MATHEWS: Not really. It was just a practice game for us. We rested a few players. And on our ideal scenario we would have bowled first as well, but I wanted our batters to bat on those conditions when the wicket is fresh.

And, yeah, the result didn't really matter for us. Even in the second game, even though we thrashed them, the result didn't really matter to us.

All we wanted for us just to go out there and climatise, get used to the conditions and the wickets and the pace and spend some time in the middle.

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