Sri Lanka Squad: Sri Lanka have announced their 15-member squad to for the much-awaited ICC World Cup 2019. Ever since Sri Lankan Board announced their contingent, a lot has been discussed about the team. While some say it is probably the right choices being made, a majority of the lot disagree to that notion. A growing sense of despondency can be sensed amongst people and the cricketing fans, especially the Sri Lankan cricket fans, looking at the squad.
KARUNARATNE TO LEAD LANKA
The squad not only shocked its fans but also stunned this one player, who was sacked from his role as the captain of Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga. He was replaced by a rookie, Dimuth Karunaratne, to take over the reins. Karunaratne leads the team in tests but he hasn’t played an ODI game since 2015. That itself raises a lot of speculations on the overall team. This only goes on to indicate that the selectors certainly did not have many options at their fore and had to make a tough call. What is even more surprising is the fact that their former captain Dinesh Chandimal was dropped from the squad altogether. This could be dubbed due to the differences he had with Lasith Malinga.
The most obvious reason to make Dimuth Karunaratne as the captain and removing Lasith Malinga is the lone fact that Karunaratne does possess the ability to bring everyone together, while the latter failed in doing so.
DICKWELLA & DINESH CHANDIMAL OUSTED
Well, the surprises don’t just end there. The SL selectors had chosen Kusal Perera as their wicketkeeper while having Kusal Mendis as the backup. While Kusal Perera does perform well with the bat, his keeping skills isn’t something that has impressed a lot. Even Kusal Mendis is not a great choice as a wicketkeeper. What’s even more surprising is the fact that neither of the players keeps wickets in their domestic matches. The player who deserved a place as a keeper was Niroshan Dickwella. He has been their go-to wicketkeeper for the past 2 years and has been Sri Lanka’s wicketkeeper across all the three formats of the game. His exclusion from the team was quite shocking.
However, the decision that shocked most people is when people couldn’t find Dinesh Chandimal’s name in the list. Chandimal was certainly touted to be the man who would lead the team to the World Cup. He was perhaps one of the strongest players for Sri Lanka. He was the captain of Sri Lanka in December and cut to April, he loses his spot in the world cup squad. Dropping him, was extremely harsh.
TEAM COMBINATION(SRI LANKA SQUAD)
Sri Lanka, which is the home to the best spinners in the world, is going in with three spinning all-rounders – Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis and Milinda Siriwardene. The fixtures show that Sri Lanka is scheduled to play the majority of their games in Wales, Midlands and North, with just one game being played in the South.
Considering such factors, it might not be an effective strategy for the Lankan team to house so many spinners. From the trio, De Silva is the only one that seems promising; the other two were given a fair share of opportunities, however, they failed to impress. What is getting the cricketing world talking is, Mendis returns to ODI side after 4 years. During his absence from the ODI side, Mendis was part of Sri Lanka’s T20 team, however, he failed miserably in the short format of the game too.
Sri Lanka haven’t been in the best of their form in the last few years. The operating ODI team hasn’t been the best, which may have prompted the selectors to experiment with the squad. However, in a bid to do so, the selectors have traded players who are in the practice of playing games in the last 12 months, with those who have been out of the squad for long. A testament of the same is that there are four players in the World Cup squad who have not played an ODI for at least last 18 months.
CAN LANKA WIN THE CUP?
The selection looks more optimistic than logical. If rumours are to be believed, the surprising squad selection could be a result of the feud between the chairman of selectors, Del Mel and head coach, Hathurusingha. The ones from the operating team, who were omitted from the WC squad were majorly those who have been the coach’s favourites.
With the squad selection and possible combinations, it may be difficult to hope that the Sri Lankan team could give a good fight to the other teams. Their chances of potentially winning the cup look very bleak. Having won the cup once and being the semis twice, their performance this time could disappoint the cricketing fans world-over.
It is indeed sad to see people doubt this team’s performance in this World Cup. A team, who has been the finalist of the 2011 World Cup, will now be playing under a lot of scrutiny in a bid to prove people wrong.
SRI LANKA SQUAD
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera (wk), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis (wk), Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal
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