Sree performs better with aggressive mindset

Mumbai: Contrary to popular perception, Kochi Tuskers Kerala skipper Mahela Jayawardene wants S Sreesanth to be the way he is, and says the bowler`s aggression and antics help him to perform better.

Jayawardene says his team would not like to curb the aggressiveness of the temperamental speedster, who has often been found guilty of crossing the line.

"I think you need to identify the individuals. Sree performs well in that manner. You take that from him and he might not do well. He`s a very aggressive bowler but I have noticed he has toned down in the last one year. That`s why he got to be a part of the India`s World Cup squad," Jayawardene said.

"We want him to be aggressive. I think that`s what he is all about. You need characters like him. You had much more worse characters in international cricket in the last 20 years and I don`t think Sree is that harmful to the game. But I think if we can control him and he has done well in doing that, we can have ourselves a very successful bowler for Kochi as well as for India. He is heading in the right direction as long as he is doing that," the former Sri Lankan vice-captain told reporters here.

Kochi Tuskers will clash with Sahara Pune Warriors at the D Y Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai here tomorrow.

The veteran campaigner said it is nice to have characters like Sreesanth around as it helps relax the atmosphere in the dressing room.

"Brilliant to have him, he just needs to reduce the volume in his i-Pod as well as the speakers. The boys have given him new songs to play. To that we have some mixture going. We need that. With him and Murali around, nothing can go wrong for us," he added.

The 33-year-old batsman from Emerald Island said Team Kochi, who lost their first match in the IPL against Royal Challengers Bangalore by six-wickets, have been bonding well.

"We have been bonding very well. We had a great last outing. I thought there would be many hiccups in our first game, that didn`t happen. Everyone did really well. Every one is identifying their roles and that is great. We have got a very good bunch of players.

"The local young Indian players too are very keen on improving themselves. Most of them are keen on getting in the national team and are working very hard. It`s a good combination for us to have.

"We are trying to motivate the Indian players to perform well as it gives them an opportunity to get into the Indian team. Lot of these boys have done well in the last three IPLs.

Whosoever has done well in the IPL got an opportunity to play for their national team," he said.

Stating that tomorrow`s match is not a revenge match for Sri Lanka`s World Cup final loss against India, Jayawardene said he is looking forward to a keen contest.

"(Its) not a revenge match. That was India v/s Sri Lanka.

This is a different thing. I don`t have such animosity with players. Off the field we are good friends. On the field we are competitive. The final was a good match and we have to move on from that. I have done that.

"(Its) not only (about) Yuvi but the entire Pune Warriors. They looked very good the other day. They looked very aggressive which is great. Looking forward to their challenge. We are playing in their home ground. It should be a keen contest. Yuvi had a great World Cup so we are definitely up for the challenge," the seasoned campaigner said.

Jayawardene said the difference between the IPL debuts of both the sides was that while his team lost a competitive match, the Warriors, who defeated Kings XI Punjab by seven wickets, faced an opposition that was mediocre on that day.

"I think Kings XI had a very mediocre game and Pune took control of the game very well. For us, our game against Bangalore, it was a very competitive game. It was a close encounter. Probably two overs changed the game for us, he added.

Asked about the pitch, he said, "We had a look at the wicket. We had a look even when they played. (It is a) very good wicket, good pace, good bounce. I think it throws a different challenge at you. But every wicket in the IPL throws a new challenge. That`s the uniqueness of this tournament."

Jayawardene, who played for Kings XI Punjab in the three previous editions of the IPL, said it is a new challenge for him to captain the new franchisee — Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

"For me obviously, auction made the change. Enjoyed my three years with Kings XI Punjab. But the new franchisee is a new challenge for me as captain," he said.