Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fantastico Malinga, Mathews Return for WT20, Asia Cup

Sri Lanka finally announced their 15 Man Squad that will take part in the Asia Cup T20I’s and the subsequent World Twenty20 that follows in India in March-April. The young and green team that lost to India was given a minor makeover with several of the injured seniors making a much anticipated comeback to the national side ahead of the big tournament.

Sri Lankan skipper and their talismanic bowler, Lasith Malinga; his partner in crime, Nuwan Kulasekera; their vice-captain and middle order stalwart, Angelo Mathews; and their lead spinner, Rangana Herath have all been named for both the events. All these Fantastico players had missed the three match T20I series that was recently played in India which the Lankan team had convincingly lost 2-1.

Wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who failed in both the matches that he played in India, has also been picked ahead of Dhanushka Gunathilaka who also had an ordinary series. Kusal Janith Perera remains suspended over a doping offence and his status on the same remains unclear. He was a key link to providing Sri Lanka with explosive starts at the beginning of the innings and he will be a huge loss for the Lankans in my opinion.

Sri Lanka retained Jefferey Vandersay, the leg spinner who did not play a single match in India, while Kasun Rajitha, the fast bowler who was the man of the match in their victory at Pune was dropped. Veteran fast bowler Dilhara Fernando who played the third T20I against India was not picked in the squad either. Sachithra Senanayake has also been picked along with off spinning all-rounder Shehan Jayasuriya, who is a big hitter down the order.

Dilshan will be the key at the top of the order and Sri Lanka will hope that he can rediscover his form and flair at the right time. Dinesh Chandimal, Kapugedera and Milinda Siriwardena are also all in the squad although I am not too sure about Chandimal’s selection as he looked totally lost in the T20 format up until now. Seam bowling all-rounder Dasun Shanaka has also been named in the squad and I loved his peppy hitting in the India series and he should open with Dilshan in my view and Dickwella should be pushed down in to the middle order.

The Sri Lankan bowling which lacked penetration against India will be significantly bolstered by the returning Malinga and Kulesekera who will team up with the tearaway quick Dushmantha Chameera and wily left arm spinner Rangana Herath. They will be ably supported by Angelo Mathews, a superb all-rounder while players like Siriwardena, Dilshan and Shanaka can all roll their arm over as well giving Malinga with plenty of options.

Although to the naked eye it might seem a bit light in the batting department, this is a pretty decent side with some high impact players, who, if they get on a roll, will be very hard to stop.

Sri Lanka 15 Man Squad for World T20 2016 and Asia Cup:
Lasith Malinga (captain), Angelo Mathews (vice-captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Niroshan Dickwella, Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardana, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Jeffrey Vandersay.

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

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