Mickey Arthur admits qualifier will be cutthroat

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Abu Dhabi

Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur believes the battle to reach the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup will be ‘cutthroat’.

The 2014 champions tackle debutants Namibia on Monday in their first match of a qualifying round which also features Ireland and the Netherlands.

Namibia are the lowest-ranked team at the event at 19 in the world. Only the top two progress to the Super 12s and Arthur is aware of how crucial an opening win will be at the Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s really important, this is a bit of a cutthroat little qualifier, you’ve got three games and you’ve got to hit the ground running without a doubt,” Arthur told a news conference on Sunday.

Sri Lanka have been dogged by problems in the build-up to the World Cup.
Kusal Mendis, opener Danushka Gunathilaka and wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella were all banned for a year for breaching the team’s coronavirus bubble in England in July. Of their 12 T20 matches this year, Sri Lanka have won three and lost nine.

They suffered series whitewashes against England and South Africa. However, they won a series 2-1 against a second-string Indian team in August to win back some respect in the cricket-crazy nation of 21 million people.

Arthur brings plenty of experience to his role having coached his native South Africa, Australia and Pakistan. He has former captain and 2014 world champion Mahela Jayawardene alongside him as a team mentor in the UAE.—Agencies

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