Sanath Jayasuriya defends Pallekele as Asia Cup venue

Mumbai: Sri Lanka legend Sanath Jayasuriya on Tuesday defended the choice of Pallekele as one of the venues for the ongoing Asia Cup, saying the city has witnessed “unusual weather” in the past few days.

The organisers have come in for criticism for picking Sri Lanka as the co-host for the Asia Cup and not the UAE, with the second half of India’s contest against Pakistan being washed out and the match against Nepal being truncated owing to rain.

Jayasuriya told PTI in an exclusive interaction that while he recalls playing cricket back home in the month of September, the city of Pallekele was not expected to get such rains.

“I think we did, I cannot remember. I played long time ago; we would have played in the months of August and September,” said Jayasuriya, who came for the trailer launch of his Sri Lanka teammate Muttiah Muralitharan’s biopic ‘800’.

“We never expected this kind of weather. Normally, in Pallekele, it is a dry zone — you do not get much rains and it is only seasonal rains. In Pallekele, you do not get unusual weather. We cannot help,” Jayasuriya added.

Jayasuriya said India have a balanced side in the Asia Cup and their top-order’s struggle against Pakistan’s pace battery is not to be panicked about.

“They are a very good Indian team. Unfortunately in the Asia Cup (match) it got rained off against Pakistan. Even yesterday’s game (against Nepal) was mostly rained off, but they have a balanced team,” he said.

“These things happen in cricket — there are days when you will not get runs and there are days when you will. I do not think anybody should panic about it much. This Indian side is good,” Jayasuriya said.

The former captain also backed Sri Lanka to excel in the coming assignments.

“They are playing well in the Asia Cup and even against Afghanistan they have played well. They need to continue performing during this tournament so that they get more confidence,” Jayasuriya said.

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