'We want to play better cricket'

Determined to set right Sri Lanka’s record of losing three major finals (World Cups in 2007 and 2011 and World T20 in 2009), Mahela Jayawardene said the previous defeats weren’t playing on his or his team-mates’ minds.

“Going into finals is fantastic,” said the Lankan skipper on the eve the World T20 final against the West Indies. “We don’t take it (the previous losses) as a negative thing. We tried our best in those finals but the other team had played better cricket. Going into this final what we are trying to do is to play better cricket than the opposition, as simple as that.

We don’t want to go back into the past history and say that it hasn’t worked for us. The preparation has been pretty good and we are not thinking too much about the final, what has happened and all that. We were not good enough to win those finals. But we believe that we have the capacity to win this one. We played good cricket to get to this place and we are looking forward to an exciting final tomorrow,” he explained.

Talking on his approach to the final, Jayawardene said: “We have to look at what we have done in this tournament and stay in the present, relax and have a good game of cricket. Other than that I don’t know how you can approach a final.”
 
In his second stint as the Lankan captain, a job he had quit in 2009, Jayawardene said on both occasions he had been thrust into the role. “On both occasions I led my country, I’ve been put into a situation. The first time when Marvan (Atapattu) got injured, I continued. I wasn’t thinking that far ahead last year and I wanted to concentrate on my batting. I’ve always said that I am very proud to be part of the Sri Lanka team and to be in the team and it gives us another opportunity as a group rather than an individual; as a group to do something special. It’s not much of a pressure.

I first think of myself as a player; try and contribute in that manner than as a leader. The other decision making comes at different stages,” he elaborated.

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