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Warm-up game against Sri Lanka great opportunity: Sanju Samson

IANS | Kolkata |

The two-day warm-up game might be a practice match for Sri Lanka but Board President’s XI captain Sanju Samson on Friday said they won’t be taking it as a tour game and will look to make the best of the opportunity.

Promising wicketkeeper-batsman Samson was named skipper after Naman Ojha, who was the captain initially, dropped out due to injury.

“We will have a team strategy. It’s a practice match for them but it’s not a practice match for us,” Samson, 22, told reporters on the sidelines of their training session at the Jadhavpur University 2nd campus ground.

“Every individual in the team has really put their heart together to perform very well in the past many years and it’s a great opportunity for them. It’s only one match but it’s a great opportunity for each and everyone. We should take this as a great chance to perform and go out there and succeed,” the highly-rated Kerala player added.

On the opposition who lost to India at home 0-9 across three formats the last time the two sides met, Samson said: “It’s a very good quality side. They have lot of talented and experienced players also. As I said before, it’s a great chance to play against a very good Test side. So we will be looking forward to beating them in the coming match tomorrow.”

Before coming here, the islanders, led by Dinesh Chandimal, whitewashed Pakistan 2-0 in Tests in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) but lost in the limited overs matches 0-5.

Quizzed about the team’s plans against the visitors, Samson said: “No there are a lot of new guys in the Sri Lankan team so we will take some time to know them. It’s a very short thing. We don’t have enough time to look at their team and plan accordingly.”

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath will be the man to watch out for in the bowling department for Sri Lanka.

Samson underlined the fact that playing against a “legend” like him would be hugely beneficial for them.

“He is a very experienced guy and it’s a practice match for him but a great opportunity for us to play a bowler like him. He is a legend and one of the greatest spinners Sri Lanka has ever seen. It’s a great opportunity for us to go out and play him,” Samson said.

In 85 Tests, 39-year old Herath has taken 405 wickets.

Samson and co. have not received any message from the senior team, he said.

Samson added that despite assembling at such a short notice, there won’t be any problem in gelling as a unit as they know each other well.

“We are playing one match. It’s only a one two-day format and we all know each other well. We have been playing in the domestic season, matches from many years before and we know each other. We have played against (each other) and also together. So we know each other well to have a good match tomorrow,” Samson said.

Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three Test matches, three ODIs and three T20 Internationals over the next one-and-half months in India. The first rubber starts November 16 at the Eden Gardens.

The Sri Lanka team also practised on Friday morning for close to two-and-half hours.


Board President’s XI: Sanju Samson (captain & wk), Abhishek Gupta, Akash Bhandari, Avesh Khan, Jalaj Saxena, Jiwanjot Singh, Ravi Kiran, Rohan Prem, B. Sandeep, Tanmay Agarwal, Sandeep Warrier, Anmolpreet Singh.