T20 World Cup 2021: Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur says qualifiers will be “cutthroat”

Sri Lanka will play Namibia on Monday | Getty Images

Sri Lanka head coach Mickey Arthur believes the battle to reach the Super 12 stage of the ongoing ICC T20 World Cup 2021 will be “cutthroat”, as the Islanders are gearing up to take on Namibia in their first match of a qualifying round on Monday (October 18) in Abu Dhabi.

Sri Lanka, the 2014 T20 World Cup champions, will face Ireland on October 20 and the Netherlands on October 22 in the qualifying round to ensure a berth in the Super 12 of the T20 World Cup 2021.

Notably, Arthur has a lot of experience and knows about many players across the world having coached South Africa, Australia, and Pakistan and it will certainly help Sri Lanka in the global event. The former captain and Mahela Jayawardene will help Arthur as Sri Lanka team mentor in the T20 World Cup.

Arthur told a news conference“It’s really important, this is a bit of a cutthroat little qualifier, you’ve got three games and you’ve got to hit the ground running without a doubt.”

He added, “I think we’ve prepared really well, we had 10 days in Colombo as well, and then against Oman (in a warm-up) it was great for us and allowed us to look at different combinations. Players got into some really good form, we sorted out exactly the brand of cricket we wanted to play, and then coming here, we’ve just capitalized a little bit on that and so I couldn’t be happier.”

Meanwhile, Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus said his team will not have any pressure and hopes to beat Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup game on Monday, as he feels the Islanders will be under pressure given their recent results having won just three T20Is from 12 games this year.

Namibia excited to take on Sri Lanka on Monday | Getty Images

Erasmus said, “We are going in there with a permanent underdog tag and that is always nice, makes us nice and free. Maybe they are a bit under pressure because of recent results and that puts a team up for the taking, and if we do it well, we can take them down.”

The 26-year-old added, “We’ve played lots of T20 cricket against high-quality opposition, and we have traveled a bit so we are accustomed to playing in different conditions, playing against different skills.”

On the other hand, Namibia head coach Pierre de Bruyn said his team is excited to take on Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup game on Monday and it will be a lifetime achievement for many players of his team.

De Bruyn signed off by saying, “It’s been a long wait and the players can’t wait to get going. These players have dreamt about this opportunity since they were five years old, six years old, and that dream is coming true tomorrow, so there is excitement as well as nervousness and pressure.”