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India series is not about revenge, but earning respect

9th November 2017
Buoyed by their improved performance against Pakistan, a young Sri Lankan side today threw a challenge to the Men in Blue making it evident that they will not go down without a fight.
Acknowledging that the India tour was a big challenge for his new-look side, Lanka skipper Dinesh Chandimal said, "The boys were confident after the good show against Pakistan and we hope to execute our plans to a perfection against this strong opponents."
India had brown-washed Sri Lanka 3-0 in Tests and swept through the ODI series and T20 match. However, Chandimal made it clear that this series was not to seek revenge but to prove themselves.
"It's not a revenge. It's rather a big challenge for us. India is now the number one team in the world. But we come to India after our successes against Pakistan. We are confident," Chandimal said a day after stepping on to Indian soil.
The islanders had put up a much improved showing against Pakistan, winning the Test series 2-0 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). "We are looking forward to the India challenge. We have our plans, and we hope to execute them to beat India," he said.
The Sri Lanka captain is on his first Test tour to India. The neighbours are slated to play three Tests, three ODIs and the same number of T20Is over the next one and a half months.
Sri Lanka will begin the tour with a three-day practice game against Board President's XI at the JU 2nd campus ground here on Saturday ahead of the first Test at the Eden Gardens from November 16.
Asked about Nuan Pradeep's absense, Sri Lanka manager Asanka Gurusinha said : "He was left out because of injury concern we have with him. In last 6-8months he is getting injured after one test match or one and half test match and things like that. As a test team we can't go into a test match with 9 or 10 men with world number 1 side and we need to build his fitness level and strength also. He will be definitely there for one day series and we will start from that. He is not out of the test cricket for us and hopefully he'll be back pretty strong by Bangladesh series which is next year."
Incidentally, this will be Sri Lanka's first ever Test match at the hallowed venue and the first tour of Chandimal in India. "Actually this is my first Test tour in India and apart from Angelo and Rangana, others also are touring India for the first time. So i mean it is a really good challenge to each and everyone. But as i said we are doing the hardwork specially coming back here. So i'm sure you know you can see faces like Dasun Sanaka in the squad and Dhananjoy de Silva too. We have a really good opportunity playing against India at home and they will do their best."
Asked about their plans to tackle Ravichandran Ashwin and Rabindra Jadeja, Chandimal said: "Actually, you know at the moment they are number 1 and 2 in the world. They bowled well in last couple of years. I do not want to tell our plans infront of you guys. So we have something up our sleeves. So you see in one week's time what are the plans."
Talking about the series, coach Nick Pothas said: "Not many people have the joy playing India back to back. It is always pleasure to come here. India is very good team. But we changed from within. The group is changed. When we took on India first time we all were pretty new. Now we focus on oursrlves. You know the mistake we can make here can be concentrating too much on Indian side. We know they are a good side. They were playing well a month ago. We are concentrateing on our strengths and our jobs. If we execute them it'll be a challenging series. Yes we are looking forward to that."
Asked the changes needed in team composition, Chandimal said : " We played with six batters and 5 bowlers and that worked well againat Pakistan. But India are a good all round side. Besides there is the matter of heat. We cant play with four bowlers and then again India has a good bowling unit. So we are still pondering."
Nick summed up: "For us India series is a huge learner. As i mentioned if we do not learn from very good team then it is a loss."

Arindam Basu and Ayan Das