Chameera’s return augurs well for Sri Lanka

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There’s excitement within Sri Lanka Cricket and among those who follow the game as Dushmantha Chameera made a return to the sport after being in the sidelines for five months. Chameera featured in a NSL game at SSC earlier this week and the mere sight of him smoothly running up to deliver the ball was a treat to watch.

Dushmantha is special as he’s able to bowl above 140 kmph consistently. There may be others who are able to match up his pace but the specialty of Dushmantha is that he has got control along with pace. While someone like Lahiru Kumara is capable of giving you outright pace, he may not have the same control of Chameera, something that Sri Lanka has been lacking in death overs in recent years.

Dushmantha, like white ball captain Dasun Shanaka hails from Negombo and attended the same school – Maris Stella. Both players are same age and broke into the Sri Lankan team in the same year in 2014 aged 22. Much was expected from them at that stage and while Dasun has gone onto captain Sri Lanka winning an Asia Cup into the bargain, Chameera’s has been an inconsistent career due to long list of injuries.

Every time Chameera made a comeback after an injury, he lasted less than a handful of games. In 2019 when he was injured, the authorities were adamant that he shouldn’t be rushed back and he was drafted in only two years later when they were convinced that he was absolutely good to go. On that occasion he actually lasted more than two years without an injury doing a terrific job and into the bargain picked up a couple of IPL stints as well.

Credit to SLC for managing him well and the team management was keen on using him sparingly for the assignments that mattered most. Even then, it was disappointing to see him going down with a calf injury during the T-20 World Cup last year in Australia.

Chameera was supposed to undergo ankle surgery after the World Cup in Australia and the calf injury only expediated that surgery.

The T-20 World Cup was bit of a disaster for Sri Lanka with half a dozen players going down with injuries and some of them are still on the mend unable to make a comeback.

Chameera’s return augurs well for the team at a time when automatic qualification for this year’s 50 over World Cup is out of the equation. They will have to be in Zimbabwe this June playing the qualifying round and against fellow qualifiers, his pace would be quite handy giving Sri Lanka the edge.

Chameera’s return is not the only reason for us to cheer up. There’s also Kusal Janith Perera who is with the Sri Lankan squad in New Zealand getting ready to feature in the T-20 series against the Kiwis.

KJP is a match winner and him missing out nearly two years of cricket has been tough. Playing T-20 cricket is a way of helping him back to start playing ODIs and he should be ready to go all guns blazing by the time the World Cup qualifiers come.

These two players will definitely feature in Sri Lanka’s starting line-up when fully fit and the team management and selectors need to make up their minds as to what kind of line-up they should use in ODI cricket.

It seems that Dilshan Madushanka is getting the cold shoulder after a poor first game in Auckland in the series against the Kiwis, but he should come good and needs to be given all the encouragement. You wouldn’t see a more skillful young bowler than him and these experiences of playing overseas in tough conditions will make him a better bowler.

Sri Lanka’s batting has been all at sea against the moving ball in the ODI series against the Kiwis, who are in fact not at full strength having lost some key players for the IPL. It’s a pity that several batters who had got starts didn’t not go onto make a big one. The number of soft dismissals in the innings summed up the batters poor attitude.

When the confirmation comes that Sri Lanka will have to play the qualifying round, it will be a bitter pill to swallow for a proud cricketing nation that won the World Cup once and reached the finals on two other occasions.

Bit of better planning could have seen us over the line but there’s no point in crying over spilt milk. They have got to bite the bullet and face the reality which is making sure they’d be in India in October for the showpiece event. After all, if Bangladesh and Afghanistan can go through, there’s no reason why Sri Lanka failed.