Gu­narathne con­fi­dent of Asian suc­cess

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - BY HAR­SHA AMARAS­INGHE

Ob­vi­ously we are go­ing to miss their ex­pe­ri­ence, but I think the tour to Malaysia re­ally helped us

Sri Lanka’s youngest fif­teen-aside cap­tain Omalka Gu­narathne is con­fi­dent of what ap­pears to be a very young side ahead of their Asia Cham­pi­onship cam­paign which gets un­der­way in Chi­nese Taipei later this month.

Nearly half of the 26-man Sri Lanka squad is set to make their in­ter­na­tional de­but for Sri Lanka dur­ing this tour with se­nior men like Dhanushka Ran­jan, Shehan Pathi­rana and Richard Dharmapala all un­avail­able for the tour. Omalka be­lieves that their ex­pe­ri­ence will be missed but is con­fi­dent of the play­ers he has in the squad.

“Ob­vi­ously we are go­ing to miss their ex­pe­ri­ence, but I think the tour to Malaysia re­ally helped us. Some of the play­ers in the squad had never played against for­eign play­ers be­fore, but they got an op­por­tu­nity in Malaysian tour and now they have some ex­pe­ri­ence which is a very good sign. So as I said be­fore, we would miss some of the se­nior play­ers but I am con­fi­dent that the younger play­ers are ca­pa­ble of fill­ing their shoes,” the num­ber eight told dur­ing a con­fer­ence in Ma­haraja Palace on Thurs­day.

Mean­while, Sri Lanka head coach Matt Lee be­lieves that the se­lec­tors have picked a good squad.

“I am happy with the team that I have been given. The se­lec­tors and the coach­ing staff had dis­cus­sions and this is the best avail­able team. I think our strength would be our for­wards and

I think they did ex­cep­tion­ally in Malaysia. They did well in set pieces both scrums and line-outs. The backs I thought were a bit flat against Malaysia, but Fazil is work­ing hard with them and I am sure they will play well in Chi­nese Taipei,” Lee told .

Sri Lanka will take on Philip­pines in their first match which is sched­uled to be played on May 29 and they need to win that game in or­der to qual­ify for the fi­nal which will be played on June 1.

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