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Having Mickey Arthur in the dressing room is a big advantage, says Karunaratne
Sri Lanka News

Having Mickey Arthur in the dressing room is a big advantage, says Karunaratne

Sri Lanka skipper Dimuth Karunaratne said Mickey Arthur's presence in their camp will offer his team a "big advantage" as they take on Pakistan in the two-Test series starting Wednesday in Rawalpindi.

Arthur, who assumed coaching duties for Sri Lanka last week, was Pakistan's head coach from 2016 till the conclusion of the ICC World Cup in July this year.

Karunaratne reckons Arthur's long association with the Pakistan side will help them astutely identify the opposition's weaknesses and foil the strategies planned by the hosts.

“Mickey was with us and previously he was the coach to the Pakistan team as well. So, I think it is a positive thing for us since he knows the Pakistan team really closely.

"He knows each and everyone very closely, the batters and the bowlers and how they are going to prepare for us. Hence, this is a big advantage," he told reporters ahead of the first Test match in Pakistan in over a decade.

The Sri Lankan batting mainstay felt "great pleasure" in playing a pivotal role in the revival of Test cricket in the country but reiterated his motivation of doing well in the series.

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“It is my first time travelling to Pakistan so I am really excited. It is a great pleasure to be a part of history. We will try to play a good Test series here and hope to beat Pakistan.”

“We played really good cricket against Pakistan in Dubai [the UAE] and Sri Lanka and that confidence helped me to get motivated for this series.”

“Most of the guys are travelling here for the first time and playing in Rawalpindi. It is a good pacy wicket.

"We watched Pakistan’s series against Australia closely and we have developed strategies for each player. We want to stick to the basics and fully utilize the conditions.”

When inquired about his intentions of repeating Sri Lanka's stellar performances during their T20I series in Pakistan in October, Karunaratne admitted white-ball cricket was entirely different.

“Test cricket is a different ball-game as the previous series included short-form matches. The guys who came here, they did the right things at the right time.

"It is a lengthy period now and we have to do well on all five days. It is a long way to go and we are approaching the series day by day.”

While Sri Lanka's limited-overs display has been below-par, the Test unit has fared well compared with their counterparts.

Karunaratne stressed that Sri Lanka were not stuck in a rebuilding phase but had in fact moved on owing to the efforts of senior players like Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, who are accompanying their full-strength squad.

“This is the same side we are playing after Mahela [Jayawardene] and Sanga [Kumar Sangakkara], it’s been four years now. I can’t say we are still in the rebuilding phase since we are now a much experienced side if you take Angelo, Chandimal, me, Kusal Janith, Thirimanne, lots of senior players are here," he said.