Sri Lanka captain Angelo Mathews said his team is not prepared for the five-match ODI series in India which starts on November 2.
After the West Indies pulled out of the Indian tour over pay disputes with WICB, the Board of Control for Cricket in India hastily arranged a short series with the Lankans, who have so far played 144 ODIs against India.
Sri Lanka were in the midst of a break from their international schedule, working on fitness programmes when they were told about the tour. Former captain Kumar Sangakkara was also not impressed and he let his strong views public via Twitter.
A week later, Mathews sounded far from pleased too but he was more guarded in his criticism: "The preparation for the series is not that great, we only had a few practice sessions especially with the weather interrupting," Mathews was quoted as saying in ESPNcricinfo. "It is not the ideal preparation for an Indian tour but we will do our best to prepare ourselves and take it as it comes."
Sri Lanka had last played Pakistan at home and were assured of a long break till England came visiting at the end of November. However, the much-needed break and fitness routines were disrupted when Sri Lanka cricket agreed to 'bail out' the powerful BCCI, who had reportedly suffered losses to the tune of Rs 400 crore after West Indies quit the tour.
"We had a good break to improve our physical fitness; a good month and a half fitness session, and now we have to maintain that fitness," Mathews said. "I am sure during the Indian matches we won't be able to do strenuous training as we did in the past one and a half months, but we will try and maintain it and look at it positively."
"We were preparing for the England series because we knew that there weren't any tours coming before that. We were focused on a lot on fitness and we just started batting three days ago. We only had a few skill-training sessions. We needed to reach our peak levels during the England series but now that we've been thrown into a challenge, we will try our best to be prepared as much as we can."
Sri Lanka have had a great year, especially in limited overs cricket. They won the Asia Cup and ICC World T20, both played in Bangladesh. But their skills will be further tested when they take on a strong Indian team in their own backyard.