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You can’t play cricket anywhere without that pressure: Lasith Malinga

“In the last one and a half years or two years, we have been telling that if we lose one game, move on, do well in the next game. You can't play cricket like that.”

Sri Lankan Cricket is probably witnessing its worst phase in international cricket. Sri Lanka's performance in the limited-overs format has been below-par in the build-up to the 2019 World Cup. After sealing their direct qualification into the 50-overs quadrennial event just on the closing stages, the Lankan side has managed just a single victory (Scotland) in the last 10 ODI matches. In ODIs since January 2018, they are the only team to have an overall batting average of 24.61. To add insult to the injury, the Lankans lose a wicket every 28.75 balls and is the only side to score less than five ODI centuries in comparison to the other teams participating in this World Cup. 

In their opening game of the mega event against New Zealand, the Dimuth Karunaratne-led team suffered a crushing 10-wicket loss and bagged a huge embarrassment. All they could manage to score in this game was 136 runs which was hugely disappointing. In the second innings, the bowlers put up no fight and ended up conceding a massive win to the opposition.

As a result, the Net Run Rate of Sri Lanka at the moment is -5.754 and there are several corrective steps that are to be taken to make things right again. The team will face Afghanistan in their next game of the World Cup and senior paceman Lasith Malinga reckons that the players need to learn from the defeats.

"In the last one and a half years or two years, we have been telling that if we lose one game, move on, do well in the next game. You can't play cricket like that. We need to learn lessons from those defeats. There's no point in forgetting those defeats. I have played four World Cups and I still have pressure for tomorrow's match. The other players must also feel like that," quoted Lasith Malinga ahead of the game against Afghanistan.

All of them must realize their own mistakes

Malinga, who's been playing international cricket since 2004, talked about the need to feel disappointed in a loss, and excitement in the win. Indifferent players don't bring the best out of a team, he warned. "You can't play cricket anywhere without that pressure. If a player doesn't feel that pressure, excitement, nervousness, then there's no chance of getting 100% for the team from that player," Malinga said. "They must think to themselves that if you don't deliver the job you've been given, then they have not done justice to the team.

"All of them must realize their own mistakes first. We can't repeat the same mistakes over and over. As a senior player and as a member of the squad, I hope everyone will have that fear of not doing their duty and the shame of losing. Everyone must realize that it's a must that they perform because if not our cricket would not go forward,” he concluded.