SLC to take Additional Players to WC
By Anjana Kaluarachchi
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) is set to take extra players, apart from a 19-member squad, for the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup. Sri Lanka earlier named a 15-member squad as well as four stand-by players, as permitted by the ICC for the tournament, due to the present COVID19 situation. But, just after the third T20 against South Africa, Sri Lanka faced major issues with injury ruling out fast bowler Lahiru Madushanka and Kusal Perera.
With Perera being a vital member in the squad, SLC is likely to retain him in the lineup despite him not being 100% fit and having only recently recovered from COVID-19. Madushanka who fractured his collarbone while fielding will most likely be replaced by wicket keeper batsman Minod Bhanuka, who will also be providing cover to Perera in the 15-man squad where the only other wicket keeper batsman is Dinesh Chandimal.
This has also created issues with the team balance if any more injuries occur during the tournament. Hence, the selectors had asked four extra players to travel to UEA with the team. Ceylon Today reliably learns the four players will be opener Pathum Nissanka, middle order batsman Ashen Bandara, all rounder Ramesh Mendis and ‘chinaman’ bowler Lakshan Sandakan.
Nissanka will provide cover for the opening slot which is fragile, with Perera being half fit and both Dinesh Chandimal and Avishka Fernando finding it hard to strike the ball at a decent T20 strike rate. Ashen Bandara did well during the tour of South Africa, where he specially created a name for himself in his short career, as a player who could sweep well a stroke that Sri Lankan batsmen hardly used against spin during the South Africa tour which was a major area of concern.
Ramesh Mendis impressed in test cricket with the bat and with his off spin where he played in place of Dhananjaya de Silva whoj he was out with an injury. Sandakan is still the next best ranked SL bowler in T20 international at 24th place behind WaninduHasaranga who is Sri Lanka’s top ranked T20 bowler in 2nd position.
But, the selectors decision to go with AkilaDhananjaya in the squad baffled many, as he hardly uses off spin these days mostly sticking to leg spin after he went through action remodeling. Additional players are set to join the squad at SLC’s own expenses.