With the announcement of the Sri Lanka One Day squad, the selectors now have selection headaches when deciding the playing XI for the 1st ODI at the R. Premadasa Stadium on Sunday.
After the team’s impressive performance against Australia in the Test series, the selectors were able to identify many in form players to be included in the one day squad, as a result, there are quite a few options available for certain positions in the one day team.
The opening batting pair: Sri Lanka found a good opening batting combination in Kusal Janith and Danushka Gunatilaka during the one day series against England. With the inclusion of veteran T.M.Dilshan, the usual opening batsman in the short format games, the selectors now have to make a call between these three players. Number 3, 4 and 5 will almost certainly be occupied by Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal and Angelo Mathews respectively.
During the one day series against England, Sri Lanka found it difficult to identify the right candidate for the number 6 position. Upul Tharanga got a few runs there but he was too slow and didn’t really play an influential role in that position. In the modern one day game, teams need aggressive strikers to bat at number 6 and 7. With that in mind you could say that, Upul Tharanga is not suited for the number 6 position as he is a naturally gifted timer of the ball rather than a powerful striker. With his exclusion from the one day squad against Australia, the doors have opened for in-form Dhananjaya de Silva and Milinda Siriwardene. Both are specialist batsmen with the ability to clear the boundary. More importantly, both can bowl spin if required by the team.
With the inclusion of Thisara Perera, the selectors have to decide whether they will persist with Seekkuge Prasanna at number 7 or include Thisara Perera at that position. Since Seekuge is a spinning all-rounder, he may be preferred over Thisara with the conditions also favouring spin bowlers.
The front line bowling attack may comprise of two fast bowlers and two spinners. It is expected that the senior duo, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal will the fast bowling slots as they are the only specialist fast bowlers in the squad. With the impressive performance in the Test series, both Lakshan Sandakan and Dilruwan Perera may feature as the specialist spin bowlers of the playing XI.
It is obvious that the selectors will have to sit and make very tough decisions to select the best playing XI to face Aussies on Sunday. It is no doubt a selection headache for the Sanath Jayasuriya led selection committee, but it is a good headache to have!
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