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May 31, 2019

Dimuth Karunaratne

Cardiff, Wales, UK

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.

Q. What's the mood in the camp like on the eve of the first game?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Yeah, I think we're all very excited. They are very keen to play the first match. I think they are well-prepared so I think we will try to do a good match tomorrow.

Q. Your team came into the competition with a lot of players who are unexpected, and yesterday someone asked Eion Morgan about who is the surprise package of the tournament, he said Sri Lanka are the surprise package. I have been playing for ten years and I have not played about seven or eight of them. What is your response to the fact that this is a team that has not played together for a long time, number one 1? And how would you say the warmups went? You had two defeats in a row. How do you handle that kind of preparation going into the World Cup?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Yeah, I think all the members did really well in the recent past I think at the domestic level. That's why I select them, to give them a chance.

All the other guys, the player last couple of years, I think they failed to perform for Sri Lanka, so that's why they want us to give a chance to who does well in domestic season.

I think we're trying to do -- you know, we did some experiment in the last -- prior to practice game, so winning or losing doesn't matter. We just want to give them a chance and to get a best level.

So that's what I want to do with my players. I think we are not worried about winning or losing the practice game, but I think we're well-prepared and I think now we know who are the going to play the first match.

Q. Very simple question: Are you good enough to beat the Kiwis and why?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Yes, yes, we are. I think we did really well. I think we compete few matches as I expect a couple of games. I think if we did really well in all three department, I think we can definitely beat Kiwis.

Q. How have the devastating events affected the team's buildup to this tournament?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think we did really well. You know, we practice hard. We came early here and we did some things in camp. We want to come together. Those other things, key factors. If you play in a World Cup like this, we have we have nine games. You have to be as a group, a unit. I think we did good homework so we will be well-prepared for the first game.

Q. How have you changed, how has the captaincy changed you? Do you feel like you're feeling your way into that leadership role?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Doesn't really matter who the captain is. You have to perform really well. I think I'm not surprised because I did really well in South Africa and I work with lots of captains in past and I know what the boys want to do, what they are expecting.

I really know my boys well, so that's why I can easy work with them. So it doesn't matter whoever the captain is. We want to play as a group, a unit, and do well in the middle.

Q. What do you think the strengths are of the New Zealand side? What do they do best? What do you fear the most?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think the key factor is the main two bowlers, I think Southee and Boult. They did really well in the practice game as well.

So if we get a good start I think definitely we can go for a big score. So those are the factors we are looking forward to.

You know, so we need to bat really well if we want to stay with the game we have to definitely have to bat really well.

Q. I don't know if you've seen or it motivates you, but a lot of pundits and papers will be tipping Sri Lanka to struggle in this year's World Cup. Is that motivation or do you ignore?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think those are the past things. We have a good side and we are fresh faces. We are trying to start again with this World Cup. I think as I said, we will be prepared really well.

We played two good practice games and we played match against Scotland and we train hard. We are really prepared and trying to start with the World Cup.

Q. Sri Lanka's performances have been disappointing with respect to what the fans want from the team in terms of the series wins over the last year and a half. How do you turn that around? Is being a new captain for you in this setup help because you don't come with any baggage?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think it's not easy if you don't know the players and they never played single a game a long time. Even me. I came for the side after four years, so it's not easy.

But if you get a chance, you know, you need to prove yourself. Every time you have to be hungry. So I think those guys who come, the new faces. They want to do well and they want to perform, to stay in the team.

So I think it's a positive thing. And if you think the recent past we couldn't do much better, but I think we are now playing as a team, new faces and everyone wants to do well.

I have lots of experienced guys who played World Cup before, and I think these are the key factors. If you can do really well in these World Cup, you need those experience and those kind of things.

Q. Have you identified who will bat with you at the top of the order? In Scotland Thirimanne batted in the middle order and then you have Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando and then also when he got a chance played well. How are you going to manage all these different combinations at the top?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think everyone, we gave everyone a chance. We want to see who is at the best level to play the first game. Sometimes I might be play No. 3, so we are undecided yet.

We will see the wicket first tomorrow morning, and then we will decide who is going to open and No. 3. That's the only thing to change, otherwise the batting order will be the same.

Q. Have you sought any past advice from past greats in the Sri Lankan game to help your campaign?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think Sangakkara came to us and gave some advice. It's really helpful for us because he's done really well the last World Cup how he prepared and how he mentally did those things.

And Arjuna, who lift the World Cup 1996, they all gave us advice before we left Sri Lanka. So those are the things that's what we want. Those are the things we get some courage as past cricketers coming in and helping us.

It's a good sign. I think Mahela is here, and I hope he will come back and talk to us as soon as possible.

Q. The weather out there is looking a bit dodgy with the wet field. Who do you think that will benefit the most?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Yeah, it's a 50/50 game. If you do really well, if you take, you know New Zealand beating India and next day West Indies beat New Zealand. It doesn't matter who are the underdogs. If you're doing really well in that particular day or time, you can win a game.

We're trying to compete with the others. All the teams are very competitive and strong, so we just need to give a good complete game. Winning or losing don't matter. If we are giving a good complete challenge, you know, definitely we can be in the winning side.

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