However, the former South Africa and Pakistan Coach said that they need to handle the wicket-keeper opening batsman with caution as he is still recovering following a series of injuries.
The veteran coach made these observations during a virtual media briefing held on Saturday before Sri Lanka Team’s departure to Oman.
Following are the excerpts from the media briefing:
Q: How well has the team been preparing for the series in Oman and for the T20 World Cup in the UAE?
A: We had three practice matches and we had some skill sessions, we got players to sweep and we identified our players exactly where to play and how to play.
Q: What steps have you taken to improve Sri Lanka’s batting line-up?
A: We have worked extremely hard on this and if our batting unit clicks it will give us a real good chance because our bowling attack is very good and our fielding standards have improved dramatically.
Q: As a couple of key players will not be touring Oman, how important will be the two warm-up games there?
A: It will give our fringe players another opportunity just to put their hand up before we finalise our squad on the 10th so it gives an opportunity to the other guys.
Q: What kind of a combination are you looking to play in the series against Oman?
A: I think we are down to two places and that tour will determine and will be fought out for during the Oman series. But other than that we are pretty consistent with where we want to go and so it is just a matter of getting into the Oman series and allowing our players to get better and to get more confidence with every opportunity that they have.
Q: How well is Kusal Janith Perera feeling after recovering from a series of injuries?
A: Kusal Janith Perera has been working hard with our physiotherapist. He batted beautifully during the practice matches and showed absolutely no signs of any injury whatsoever.
But we will still take it slow with him because obviously he is our major player so we will have him in tip-top condition come the first game on October 18th.
Q: What are the chances of Kusal Janith Perera playing in the series in Oman?
A: How we will use him in Oman and how we will use him during those training games, I am not hundred percent sure. Perhaps, he will play two out of four games.
Q: What will be Sri Lanka’s bowling combination for the World Cup?
A: The good thing about the squad that we got at the moment is that we could be flexible. We can be flexible in terms of how we set our team up.
Q: How well the conditions in the UAE help the Sri Lankan players?
A: I have been watching obviously the IPL very intently because we will be playing on the same wickets. Sharjah is a very interesting wicket and it has held a little bit. All the wickets in the UAE at this time of the year are very slow there, simply because of the weather conditions. That’s why they have left a little bit of grass on.
So looking at those conditions I thought that we would go with two seamers, two spinners and the all-rounders like Dasun Shanaka and Dushmantha Chameera. That is probably the way we have looked to start. But if the wickets dry up considerably we are flexible enough to go with three
spinners. So we do have that flexibility in our squad which is great.
Q: How important will Kamindu Mendis be at this World Cup?
A: He is the kind of player that we want. If we go with two spinners and two seamers it will be really handy to have a spinner who is a top order bat.
We have Dhananjaya de Silva as well who could do that role. Charith Asalanka also can bowl a little bit. So whatever combination and whichever format we got with we have guys in the top order who can give us an over or two of spin, which is a good position to be.
Q: What kind of a role will Chamika Karunaratne have to play at this World Cup?
A: He will definitely have a floating role. We can’t waste his big hitting talent. We don’t have many players who can hit out of the ground and he can certainly do that for us.
Q: What steps have you taken to reduce the number of dot-balls?
A: It is easy to stand and hit boundaries. But having the ability to deflect the ball into the gap off a good ball is the real art and that’s the quality of a real batsman.