We will try to put India’s much-famed batting under pressure: Jayawardene

India are a formidable adversary in all conditions, but on home turf, for some reason, it becomes especially difficult to beat them, writes Mahela Jayawardene in his column in The Times Of India, adding that conditions in Sri Lanka do not differ so much from Indian venues, but there are still differences and, in general, I think there tends to be a little more assistance for the bowlers.

“We’ll need to exploit this as best as we can to try and put their much-famed batting under pressure. India, though, will be keen to put an indifferent year behind them. Like us they have been introducing some new players for the future and those players have now had some time to gain experience and adjust to international cricket. Their players will also be physically and mentally refreshed after a seven-week break. I cannot remember the last time we had a break so long and I think MS Dhoni said it’s been his longest break for about five years,” writes Jayawardene.

“The break would have been really useful in terms of getting over minor niggles and also in terms of building up core fitness ahead of a busy new season. The down side for them is that there is a chance they might be a little rusty. If they are, we need to capitalize on that,” adds the Sri Lankan skipper.

Meanwhile a report in Indian Express says that for Rahul Sharma, the fifth edition of the IPL was a double whammy. The spinner had made his bones during past editions of the tournament, but the 2012 version saw him struggle, and at its fag end, was also ‘caught’ in a raid on a rave party in Mumbai. He has been cleared of the charges since, and selection in the Lanka-bound Indian ODI team will give him an opportunity to further his case.

Talking about the rave party party incident, Sharma said that it did affect him a lot. “During the West Indies sojourn, I was conscious of what happened and it affected not just me but my also family. I am mentally tough, but to forget the incident and move on initially during the tour was tough. It was on the back of my mind,” said Sharma.

Speaking on India A West Indies tour, the spinner said that the conditions and the wickets were quite difficult. “To make adjustments were tough for both sides, but they, after all, were the home side. In terms of results, I would say that I had an average sort of tour. I went to the Caribbean after talking to Anil Kumble and his inputs did help me, but I found the conditions challenging and tough.”

According to a report in The DNA, Kevin Pietersen was, on Wednesday, left out of England’s provisional squad for the World Twenty20. The 32-year-old batsman retired from ODI cricket in May. At the time, he said he would still have been available for England’s Twenty20 world title defence in Sri Lanka but the ECB selection policy stated that any player making himself unavailable for either of the limited-overs formats ruled himself out of consideration for both.