Three replacements for Sri Lanka Asia Cup squad-by Dhammika Ratnaweera
Three replacements have been named in the 20-man cricket squad for the six nation Asia Cup T20 cricket tournament which will commence on August 27 in Dubai.
The selection committee headed by Pramodya Wickramasinghe has picked a 20-member squad (17-player squad and three stand-by players) and Sports Minister Roshan Ranasinghe has given his approval to this squad. Two players who were originally named pacemen Binura Fernando and Kasun Rajitha got injured during the recently concluded SLC Invitational T20 League tournament while Sri Lankan white ball format main strike bowler Dushmantha Chameera who was rested for the T20 invitational tournament once again got injured last Friday during the training and selectors named three replacements for Binura Fernando, Kasun Rajitha and Dushmantha Chameera.
The selectors earlier named two replacements pace bowlers Asitha Fernando who was the best player of the recently concluded T20 invitational tournament and Pramod Madushan who made his international T20 debut against Australia and already sent these two names for Sports Ministry Approval while injured Chameera’s replacement Nuwan Thushara’ s name will be sent on Monday (today) for the Sports Ministers approval said a senior official of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Sri Lanka Cricket selection committee always tries to select the best team to represent the National team and they have a good policy of having a fitness test as well as considering the current performance of the players and this was successful at the recently concluded Bangladesh Test series (won 1-0 series) Australian and Pakistan Test series (both ended in draws 1-all) and in the white ball format, they are sending the best team to the Asia Cup said a senior official of the SLC. The 2km run test and skin folder test for fitness are highly successful, especially with this type of short ball format (T-20) players have to maintain a very good fitness level and their experience is also very vital he said.
Dasun Shanaka once again has been named as the Sri Lanka T20 team captain for the Asia Cup while promising all-rounder Charith Asalanka is deputy skipper of this team. Asalanka who captained the SLC Blues team at the recently concluded SLC invitational T-20 league cricket tournament missed the last two games including the final due to Covid 19 returned to training yesterday after an isolated period while opener Kusal Mendis is named as the first choice stumper while dashing stroke maker Bhanuka Rajapaksa was named as second choice wicket-keeper. Rajapaksa has previous experience as a wicket-keeper during Abudhabi T10 as well as T20 franchise tournament matches while experienced Dinesh Chandimal who is also a wicket keeper-batter is in this squad as a stand-by player.
The selectors also named promising Ashen Bandara who is a product of St. Aloysius’ Galle. He has played 5 ODI’ and 4 T20s and played his last T 20 international against India in July 2021. However, he regained his place after performing well at the last T20 cricket tournament as well as Sri Lanka ‘A’ team series against Australia A. In addition, Ashen Bandara is one of the top fielders in the game which is an asset in white-ball cricket.
Dinesh Chandimal, though will struggle to earn a place in the 17-man squad has been picked as the third wicket-keeper in the side while Opener Danushka Gunathilaka has just one half-century in his last 15 games, but the selectors have kept faith in the senior batter. Meanwhile, young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage is unable to find a place in the T-20 squad.
Selectors gave first priority to experienced spinners Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Praveen Jayawickrama who was the best player in the last T20 cricket tournament played at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium. Wellalage performed at last Australia ODI series and made debut Test against Pakistan but it is too early to give chance for the T20 format. He is next in line when the T20 World Cup squad is named after this Asia Cup and there is a possibility of making a few changes.
Sri Lanka is in Group ‘B’ alongside Bangladesh and Afghanistan. During the last tournament in 2018, Sri Lanka lost both their games to the same opponents and crashed out from the first round itself. The Asia Cup will begin on Saturday (27) with Sri Lanka playing Afghanistan in the tournament opener at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
Sri Lanka Squad for the Asia Cup:
Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka,(V.Capt) Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffery Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrema, Nuwan Thushara, Asitha Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Pramod Madushan, Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwanidu Fernando Asitha Fernando, Promod Madushan and Nuwan Thushara (subject to be approved by the Sports Minister).