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Sri Lanka face unusual dilemma

5 May 2024 10:14 pm - 17     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


By Harsha Amarasinghe 

May 5 (Daily Mirror) - Moving into World Cup tournaments, Sri Lanka selectors have traditionally faced difficult challenges in relation to squad selection. From time to time, the selectors have made tough calls; some of which have paid off and some turned out to be shocking mistakes - such as leaving out a young Wanindu Hasaranga as a reserve player to include Jeffery Vandersay and Jeevan Mendis in the squad for the ODI World Cup in 2019.

Usually, the selectors have always had trouble picking the spinners or batsmen, as the country did not have a lot to select from in terms of fast bowlers. However, arguably for the first time in history, the national selectors will have a very hard choice to make when they name possibly three or four fast bowlers in the final 15-man squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies.

In the preliminary squad, Sri Lanka have got Dushmantha Chameera, Dilshan Madushanka, Asitha Fernando, Promod Madushan, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, and Binura Fernando. Selectors will ideally go with four fast bowlers, considering that all-rounders Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka are almost certain to be in the Playing XI. 

Asitha Fernando is probably Sri Lanka's best fast bowler in Test cricket. He has got decent pace and swings the new ball to cause enough trouble for batsmen, but most importantly, he is Sri Lanka's Neil Wagner - when the going gets tough, the captains tend to switch on the chin music through Fernando. However, he is probably the least likely to be named in the World Cup squad based on his T20 performances. 

On the other hand, Binura Fernando has been given a lot of opportunities in the recent past. The lanky medium pacer has had plenty of injuries throughout his career and is probably the slowest bowler in the preliminary squad. However, drop-in pitches are expected to be used in the USA for the World Cup, and his variations could come in handy in such conditions. 

Promod Madushan, like Binura Fernando, has been representing Sri Lanka a lot in the shorter formats, but that's mainly down to the fact that the senior men were injured. He has done well with the new ball, but in T20s, bowling death overs is hugely instrumental to the team's success, and perhaps that's not his strong suit. 

Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka made a name for himself when Sri Lanka lifted the Asia Cup a couple of years ago - very famously dismissing Virat Kohli with a brilliant in-swinger, but there has been a massive drop in his form in the last few months as he has been reduced to the bench. Should he find his rhythm back, he would be very hard to overlook. 

Lahiru Kumara has been really inconsistent over the years, but in the recent past he has appeared to lose some pace in order to gain much-needed control over his bowling. But then again, is he one of Sri Lanka's top four fast bowlers going into the World Cup? This remains a big question mark. 

Matheesha Pathirana - given his form in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) - is likely to be one of the first to be named in the Playing XI should he remain fit. However, it is concerning that the former Trinity quick missed a few games for CSK through an injury he has been carrying for a few weeks now. 

Nuwan Thushara is also considered another 'Baby Malinga' given his action similar to that of former great Lasith Malinga, but what Thushara and Pathirana offer is absolutely different. While Pathirana is a death-over monster - CSK barely gives him an opportunity with the new ball. On the other hand, Thushara, who is far less in terms of pace, bowls superbly with the new ball, and demolishing Bangladesh single-handedly a couple of months ago is a fine example of that, but he is probably not at the same level at the death. It's crazy to think that Sri Lanka had someone with both of these characteristics for nearly 15 years in Lasith Malinga - some things are not loved enough until they are gone. 

Dushmantha Chameera has been Sri Lanka's spearhead in the post-Malinga era, but like Lahiru Kumara and Binura Fernando, he has been injured a lot. He is currently playing in the IPL on absolutely flat wickets, with not much success, but he should get more assistance from the wickets in the USA.

  Comments - 17

  • Citizen Monday, 06 May 2024 07:27 AM

    If you choose four fast bowlers, 1. Nuwan thushara 2. Dilshan Madushanka 3. Matheesha Pathirana (you should ask him to bowl straight, not wide) 4. Dushmantha Chameera Please don't take Dikwella in. Ask Haaranga to behave like a gentleman. Anyway, Sri Lanka is miles away from getting closer to any trophy. Without dedication and discipline, our team is a real mess...

    Doctor Kasun Monday, 06 May 2024 01:59 PM

    I like ur comment

    Jude Monday, 06 May 2024 07:36 AM

    Selection of 15 player squad is very difficult task!! However, selectors must justify selection only by Merritt not by favouritism or connections, or influenced by others!!

    Jude Monday, 06 May 2024 07:40 AM

    Historically Lankan selectors haven't got it right!! SL team selection criteria some what questionable. Selection of some players not justifyble!! !!

    Rishan Monday, 06 May 2024 08:19 AM

    Good to.include injury free players for the squad. Else there will be never ending replacements as after 1 match , players will be unfit for the rest of the tournament.

    Nilmini Welivita Monday, 06 May 2024 08:50 AM

    No point spending tax payer money on a losing team. Better spend it on women’s volleyball.

    SCRanjithA Monday, 06 May 2024 11:51 AM

    The Sri Lanka Cricket is s profit-making body and does not government funding. Hence using Tax payers money does not arise.

    A Monday, 06 May 2024 12:24 PM

    Don't talk nonsense. Cricket is funded by own source not tax money. Get your ducks in a row. I deal selection would be . Dushmantha , Madusnaka , Pathirana, Asitha or Binura . 2 more bowlers will go as standby due to injury at SLC cost as too much flying time to do quick replacement. As our bowlers injury prone we need back up...

    Jude Monday, 06 May 2024 08:57 AM

    The chances of SL team making to Super 8 is very good. But reaching Semis a pipedream!! SL T20 team lack in few areas most notably is fitness!! SL don't Have a batter at number 7 or 8 who could clobber 20-25 runs an over to finish the inning or finish the game!! And SL bowling lackluster in key Games.

    Ara Monday, 06 May 2024 09:03 AM

    In Jeevan Mendis, it may be that the agent promise a payment to the selectors from the match fees

    Gusbuwaa Monday, 06 May 2024 09:18 AM

    'Lanky Binura' had been taken to the task by many batters in the past. Miller loves him. Offer Binura a main role in a tele drama. The Chaneeras, Matheeshas and co are prone to hamstring and are unfit. Admit that Vandersay and Jeevan were absolute disasters. Jeevan Kunaratunga would have done a better service. By yesterday, Dasun Shanaka's batting records seen at some tourney were appalling. All innings beliw 5 runs. His bowling was also ripped to all corners. SLC love to add weak links may be thre is money business happening down under and, no one was able to get into the current boards' zone, as we saw recently. They also want uncle Angelo to be given a proper a farewell I guess. Where is Angelo Prerea?. SLC is very good at killing talented players. Will watch the tournament anyway for the love of cricket and would not have any false expectation for Sri Lankan success.

    Wonder of Asia Monday, 06 May 2024 10:32 AM

    It is dilemma for everything in Sri Lanka so no wonder.

    Kalu Senanayake Monday, 06 May 2024 12:18 PM

    it is up to the coaches and the players to plan the innings.just slogging every ball with a premeditated shot will not take us anywhere.Boys are talented and make them think and play.teach them to bowl wide yorkers and at least one rib breaking bouncer.make the ball swing and seam without bowling straight length balls.Cricket is a game of skill and a mind game.Good luck to the Sri Lanka Team

    Db Monday, 06 May 2024 12:22 PM

    Hmm looks like local-lawyers ( Hoda perakadoruwo) in business. Let cricket to decide it

    cricket fan Monday, 06 May 2024 06:22 PM

    After playing only against weaker teams like Bangladesh and Afghanistan newcomers to international cricket as a preparation for the 2024 T20 Cricket World Cup the crunch time ha finally come to select the right combination of players to play against the big boys Australia India NZ South Africa and England. As a result Sri Lanka no doubt is in a serious dilemma not knowing how to go about it and avoid an early exit like in the 2024 ODI Cricket World Cup last year.

    Shihab Akill Daiyan Monday, 06 May 2024 09:09 PM

    SL World Cup Squad Pathum Nissanka Kusal Perera Charith Asalanka Dhanajaya De Silva Kusal Mendis Angelo Mathews Dasun Shanaka Kamindu Mendis Janith Liyanage Wanindu Hasaranga Mahesh Theekshana Dunith Wellalage Lahiru Kumara Dushmantha Chameera Nuwan Thushara Dilshan Madhushanka/Matheesha Pathirana(If recovered)

    cricketer Tuesday, 07 May 2024 08:38 AM

    How can Sri Lanka cricket be a profit making body when we hardly play any big matches at home and don't have large crowds to watch the games. As a result Sri Lanka cricket is being subsidised and run by Jai Shah the secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for their own interests like the IPL

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