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Atapattu: More flexibility needed

Dambulla: Maravan Atapattu has promised an innovative approach during his tenure as Sri Lanka’s one-day captain, starting against Pakistan on Saturday.

The tri-series, also involving New Zealand, will be Atapattu’s first tournament in charge since the selectors decision to split the one-day and Test captaincy.

“My feeling is that we have become somewhat predictable and one-dimensional,” said Atapattu. “Our opponents have become wise to our gameplan and we must become more flexible in our pattern of play. We should be able to react to new and unexpected situations.”

Atapattu has demanded a big improvement in fielding and wants the back-up bowlers to provide better support for Muttiah Muralidharan and Chaminda Vaas.

“We have to focus 100 per cent more on our fielding,” he said. “I think the bowlers need to believe in themselves a bit more. ”

Sri Lanka start as favourites because of their excellent home one-day record — they have not lost a series or tournament since the Independence Cup in 1998.

Pakistan are the form team having won the recent Sharjah Cup convincingly, but their captain Rashid Latif is expecting a more difficult test.

“The tour to Sri Lanka is going to be much tougher and I have already told my players what they can expect there,” he said. “On current form, I would rate New Zealand and Sri Lanka as better teams than our present outfit. This Pakistan side is still in the process of rebuilding and finding its feet.”

Vincent in

Lou Vincent has secured the last spot in New Zealand's squad, captain Stephen Fleming said in Kandy Thursday.

The New Zealand selectors have asked offspinner Paul Wiseman to stay back as a cover for Daniel Vettori, who was injured in a mid-pitch collision with Atapattu during the second Test.

THE SQUAD

Stephen Fleming (captain), Matthew Horne, Chris Nevin, Lou Vincent, Scott Styris, Chris Cairns, Chris Harris, Brendon Mccullum, Jacob Oram, Andre Adams, Daniel Vettori, Daryl Tuffey, Kyle Mills, Shane Bond. (Reuters)

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