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Malinga stresses on good start to World Cup year

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By Agency
03rd-Jan-2019       
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Sri Lanka captain Lasith Malinga has begged for a positive start to 2019 as they begin their road to the 2019 World Cup with a three-match ODI series in New Zealand. Sri Lanka had a better 2018 in the 50-over format than in 2017, but the improvement has been merely relative. After losing 23 and winning just five of the 29 played in 2017, Sri Lanka won six and lost 10 out of the 17 played in 2018.
But among those losses are one to Afghanistan in the Asia Cup, one to Zimbabwe in a tri-series in Bangladesh and three successive games to South Africa and England in separate home series. Malinga expects to arrest such slides, and wants his batsmen to make an orderly start, build partnerships while the acceleration can happen towards the end.
"Whatever the game is we need a good start - that's something we need to concentrate on," Malinga said on the eve of the first ODI against New Zealand in Mount Maunganui on Wednesday (January 2). "Our first ten overs, we have to assess conditions and build partnerships. We can then accelerate towards the end of the innings."
Sri Lanka have had several fresh starts and blank slates after a setback since the retirement of the likes of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in early 2015, but Malinga reckons now isn't the time to rebuild just a few months out from an ICC event. "Now is not the time to rebuild. More than three years have gone since the great players have retired. The next World Cup is this year. Now we have to prove who is the best in Sri Lankan cricket. All the players are keen to do that. We'll try to start 2019 well."
Malinga also wants Sri Lanka to take a lesson from their previous two ODI series and do what they've missed doing in those.

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