Shanaka confident of putting up a good show  

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Sri Lanka’s white ball skipper Dasun Shanaka believes his team can put up a good show and return victorious in the upcoming Asia Cup 2022 which will commence on 27 August and conclude on 11 September in UAE.

“All teams taking part in the Asia Cup are tough contenders, and our team is similarly talented. If we look at it name-wise, we got all the top players who have performed well in the format. I believe the Sri Lanka team will have a great opportunity to return with the trophy,” said Dasun Shanaka addressing a media briefing in Colombo yesterday.

Sri Lanka will get their Asia Cup campaign underway against Afghanistan on 27 August at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium. 

The tournament will be of vital importance for Shanaka and Co., as they ramp up their preparation for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in Australia later this year, with a near full-strength side.

 A total of 6 teams will participate in the upcoming edition of the continental championship. Five Test-playing nations from the continent – India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Afghanistan – have earned direct qualification to the tournament. while the remaining team will book its place through a qualifying round.

UAE, Kuwait, Hong Kong and Singapore will fight it out in the qualifiers for a place in the main event. The qualifiers are set to begin on 20 August. All four teams have made it to the last qualifying round after progressing through the regional qualifiers.

In order to prepare for the Asia Cup and T20 World Cup, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) organized an Invitational T20 Tournament, which is currently under way in Colombo. 

Commenting on the ongoing tournament Dasun went onto say: “The main idea of conducting such a tournament is to identify fresh talent, and for National players to perform. This is also a good opportunity for the youngsters to showcase their talent,” he further added.  

Meanwhile, Executive committee member – Chairman of tour organising committee of Sri Lanka cricket Samantha Dodanwela went onto say: “The main objective of this SLC Invitational T20 Tournament is to prepare the top white ball players for the upcoming Asia Cup, and thereafter, the T20 World Cup which will take place in October-November.”

“Since all the top players intensity level at this tournament will be very high, I’m sure all the teams would want to display their fullest capability to ensure their best for the team”, he added.  

“As you know, Lanka Premier League had to be postponed due to no fault of Sri Lanka Cricket or events rights holder IPG, but due to the present economic crisis the country is facing. Therefore, I think the selectors and the national head coach had a discussion with the Tournament Committee and wanted to arrange or organise an Invitational T20 Tournament. So, we thought that’s the best opportunity to allow the players to display their capabilities in order to be considered for national selection,” he said.

“This tournament will also give the opportunity for the selectors to pick the best combination for the Asia Cup as well as the T20 World Cup,” Samantha Dodanwela further added.

By Mustaq Sydeen