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July 5, 2019

Dimuth Karunaratne

Headingley, Leeds, England, UK

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Dimuth Karunaratne. Questions?

Q. You come to the tail end of the World Cup. What are the team's thoughts, coming in? Finishing off on a winning note? How are the thoughts on that, the team's?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: We have to win the game to end up in the fifth or sixth position, that's our plan. So we intend to do our best.

Q. Just wondering, you played England here and got good results. You've played everybody but India. What's your view of the standard of the opponents and who potentially is the best out of who you played?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: The England side is a good team. So far they are doing really good at the moment. And they're the number one team as well. I think here in Headingley we've got some lucky games here. If you take the test matches and one-days, we did really well. So we're trying to give our best shot against India. We're playing the same track that was used against West Indies and Afghanistan. So hopefully we can get some turn. So we're trying to give our best shot against India.

Q. Can you just talk us through some of the positives for your team in the World Cup?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think if you take the batting lineup -- Avishka Fernando and Kusal and the opening pair and some middle order, if you take -- we do well in the middle order the first few games, but if you take the last matches, we capitalized well and we managed to bat really well in the end of the tournament. But I think that it's too late. But if you take the positives of Avishka Fernando, he's playing really good, doing really good. He got, in three games he showed that he can do, he can produce some runs for Sri Lanka. And he's one of the future stars. And if you take the bowling lineup, they did really well, especially Malinga and Nuwan Pradeep. They're the good sign. And if you take this World Cup those are the things, highlighted things I feel want to go forward. Those are the positive points in this tournament.

Q. Do you think looking back that you know the preparation time took a lot more than you would have expected, maybe like teams start preparing a couple of years before the tournament starts? Do you think that is something that you guys will want to start fresh right here, right now, looking at the four years that comes around the corner?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: In the 2015 World Cup we also started to build the World Cup side but unfortunately the players who come in, they couldn't perform very well then. And that time we had to change lots of players. But after the World Cup, after this World Cup we're trying to have a special plan and identify the players who can produce or give a good -- if you take the bowling and the batting and the fielding, and the fitness level, we are looking for the future World Cup and we're trying to, they are a good bunch of players and trying to give our maximum challenges for them. And we are trying to make a good solid 15 players for the next World Cup.

Q. What do you think is taking so long for the transition phase? Normally international teams go through the transition phase during a period of two, three years. But it's now a good four, five years, but it's not happening the way probably it should happen for Sri Lanka cricket. As a captain what do you think is the reason for that?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: I think if you take the other countries, they played lots of cricket, like IPL and the domestic structure in India, that's really, really good.

And in Sri Lanka, we have only one domestic season. And after that, if they've performed well, the players, they have only a chance to show up there for their talent on that particular domestic season. So that's why we can identify the players from that tournament. So that's the reason. After that, when you come to the international level, so there's a huge gap. So we have to know -- we have to cross that gap and we have to play lots of cricket, give the chance to play for the players go to play IPL, some Big Bash League or County League. So we are given permission to play in this tournament and get some experience and come back. So those are the things I'm expecting from the cricket board after this World Cup, they will make a good decision and make us strong at the domestic level and produce some good players for the future.

Q. Rohit Sharma already scored four 100s in this tournament, done well against Sri Lanka in the past. Is there any way -- are there any strategies that you thought of that you can sort of contain him or (indiscernible) his wicket early?
DIMUTH KARUNARATNE: Every batsman have big points. We take a couple of videos, and Rohit, not only Rohit, Virat and all the top six batsmen, and we have a plan for everyone. But if you couldn't execute really well, we can't -- the plans aren't working. So the point is we have to execute really well against those batsmen. We know they are really dangerous. Once they get set, they're going for the big ones. So we have some plans, we're trying to restrict them from those plans. And if we can execute really well, definitely we can get him out and early.

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