However as Morgan pointed out being no. 1 is an acknowledgement of the progress the team has made this year, but their main focus is the World Cup next year where England are the host.
“To become no. 1 is a nice acknowledgement it’s not something that we have set our focus on. Our focus is the World Cup next year. Focussing on the actual process that got us there and not becoming no.1 is the most important thing,” said Morgan.
England are one of the few countries that has never won the World Cup despite having hosted the mega event on four occasions. The current England side represents their best chance of laying their hands on that coveted trophy.
As Morgan explained it has been a long process to get to where they are today. “It’s been a long process, well thought out and well planned and to a point well executed. We’ve still a long way to go and it’s taken us 3½ years to get to where we are now,” said Morgan. “We are getting to the most important part of what we been planning towards where the players have done an exceptional job, jelled well as a team and gone in the way that we’ve wanted.”
LANKAN PITCHES NOT ALIEN
Morgan disagreed that conditions and pitches in Sri Lanka are going to be totally alien to them as they have been in the past.
“Everywhere we play and every ground we play presents different challenges. I disagree that conditions are going to be totally alien because throughout our summer the ball turned at home which doesn’t normally happen,” said Morgan.
“We are also trying to play to our game plan. Around the world presents different pressures and different challenges within our group. It’s something over the last few years we’ve done well as a team and it’s helped with the growth of the side. Last winter away against New Zealand and Australia we played in all types of conditions some extremely tough and some we felt at home. I think Sri Lanka will present chances like that,” he said.
Morgan who was part of the England side that toured Sri Lanka in 2014 and lost the seven-match ODI series 5-2 said that the present Lankan team presented a different challenge to the one they played back in 2014 where Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene laid the foundation for their win. “Depending on how the conditions turn out whoever plays the conditions well will win,” said Morgan.
Sri Lanka’s one-day captain Dinesh Chandimal was optimistic about his team’s chances against England.
“England are on top of the one-day rankings because they are a very good side. The series presents a good challenge for us. If we can finish on the winning side it will be a good morale booster before we go for the World Cup,” said Chandimal.
“All the players are focussed on their job at hand. If we can obtain the results that we are looking forward to at the end of the series it will be a tremendous boost to our confidence,” he said.
Sri Lanka are currently going through a phase where their one-day stocks are below par which is reflected in their recent debacle in the Asia Cup where they were beaten comprehensively by Bangladesh and fast rising Afghanistan and by their current ranking at 8.
“We are going through a process of where we have gone wrong in ODI cricket. We have identified certain areas where we have gone wrong, there are a few more areas we have to rectify”.
“We need the players to perform according to match situation which is what we have been unable to do. We have a good coach and a good management and as players we should know in the middle how we should perform. If we can do that we can give a good contest to England,” Chandimal said.
DIFFERENT CHALLENGE TO ASIA CUP
Sri Lanka’s under pressure head coach Chandika Hathurusingha said the England series was a big challenge and added, “It is always good to measure yourself with the best. At the end of the series we will know where we are at this stage looking towards the World Cup.”
“We have prepared like we normally do for any other series. We have been practicing for about a week and we are going to Dambulla on the October 5th ahead of the matches to get used to the pitches and conditions because there are different,” said Hathurusingha.
“We prepared as well as we could for the Asia Cup but we didn’t go and execute those plans. We didn’t perform as expected and we accept that. The challenge posed here is quite different to what we got during the Asia Cup.
“We have not taken much from the Asia Cup only certain things because conditions and opposition is going to be different”.
“But overall our development we have taken some measures. It is not particularly of what happened there. We are particular about the opposition that we are facing this time,” he said.