Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne praises Arthur, eyes top-four rank | Daily News


Sri Lanka captain Karunaratne praises Arthur, eyes top-four rank

Dimuth Karunaratne
Dimuth Karunaratne

Sri Lanka cricket captain Dimuth Karunaratne lauded the impact of new coach Mickey Arthur on Sunday and said his side must target a top-four spot in the world rankings for both the test and 50-over formats.

South African Mickey Arthur was appointed as Sri Lanka’s head coach on a two-year contract in December.

Former first class cricketer Arthur has previously been head coach with the national teams of South Africa, Australia and Pakistan.

“Mickey is a no nonsense cool bloke with loads of experience to back him and his brand,” Karunaratne told Sri Lanka Cricket.

“At the international level, planning and role clarity is a norm. What is very important is the belief he has instilled among us in his own and subtle way. It sure helped and the results always speak for itself.”

Since Arthur’s appointment, Sri Lanka lost a two-test series in Pakistan before defeating Zimbabwe at home. They are currently ranked fifth in the format.

The team languished at eighth in one-day internationals but managed to defeat a dangerous West Indies side 3-0 in their last series before the COVID-19 shutdown.

“Ranking is the key word. I’d say Sri Lanka needs to be in the top four of not just ODI cricket, but test cricket as well,” Karunaratne, 32, said.

“That would indirectly mean semi-finalists to say the least and you are perhaps two games away from the plum. There onwards, it’s anybody’s guess and if you do well on your day you could end up being World Champs.”

Test captain Karunaratne was himself handed an olive branch to resurrect his limited-overs career and lead the side in ODI cricket when he was brought back last year ahead of the 50-over World Cup in England for the first time since 2015.

The top-order batsman found success with the willow but was unable to lead his side into the last four of the competition.

Karunaratne is, however, positive about the future.

“The boys and the respective squads are enjoying their cricket and that makes my job that much easier,” he said.

“If you like what you are doing and the environment to do so is conducive, the balance at this level of sport becomes that much more beneficial.”

Karunaratne who valued test cricket higher than the other two formats said that he would like to finish his career with 25 test hundreds and a Test average of over 50.

“I have nine centuries from 66 test matches, while many will argue that I should or could have converted some of the 24 half centuries I scored into centuries, thus increasing my overall tally of centuries. However, I am learning from each game. Test Cricket is supreme and it’s certainly not a walk in the park. The stretched goal is 25 centuries and a 50+ average,” said Karunaratne.

Recalling some of the glorious moments of his career so far Karunaratne said, “Who could or will ever forget your first Test cap and your first Test century and the ODI win against England in the 2019 World Cup. The test series win in South Africa under my captaincy is also a significant memory and apart from those moments, you have some ‘Glorious Cricketing Moments’ in favor of brand DK123.”

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