In a phase of transition after the retirement of their star batsmen like Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, the Sri Lankan team is yet to find the rhythm they once had in international cricket. Out of the last five ODI series they have played against the top 8 ODI teams, they have lost 4 and drawn one. The inexperienced side is in dire need of a good performance as a unit.
The Sri Lanka Cricket Board has announced the squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy and here is a look at the probable combination that Angelo Mathews might opt.
Top Order: Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis
While Tharanga brings in the experience of more than 200 ODIs to the team, Perera and Mendis provide the much-required start to the game. Perera is often known for his fireworks at the top of the order, making use of the fielding restrictions. Kusal Mendis was in fine touch against Bangladesh scoring more than 150 runs in three innings including fifty and a hundred.
— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) April 25, 2017
Middle Order: Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Asela Gunaratne
Chandimal will keep wickets for Sri Lanka and will be one of the most dependable batsmen in the middle order, especially during the middle overs where the run flow is restricted to some extent. Asela Gunaratne will be playing his first major trophy for Sri Lanka and will be hoping to perform to his full potential.
All-Rounders: Angelo Mathews (capt.), Thisara Perera
Mathews has been the lone warrior for Sri Lanka for almost a year now. Wickets with the ball and runs with the bat, Mathews has been eternally reliable. Thisara Perera is the perfect pinch hitter who can hit the ball hard to elevate the scoring rate in the slog overs. He can chip with a few overs with the ball to bowl his medium pace that has proven to be effective in breaking partnerships in the past.
— Sri Lanka Cricket (@OfficialSLC) April 24, 2017
Spinner: Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan
The two spinners can prove to be effective on English tracks even with the latter’s reputation of being assistive to fast bowlers. Prasanna’s googlies and Sandakan’s straighter deliveries can get Sri Lanka the crucial breakthroughs.
Fast bowlers: Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga
The two of Sri Lanka’s most experienced fast bowlers are most likely to make it to the playing eleven. Malinga is playing his first ODI since 2015 and is expected to perform well on the seaming tracks of England & Wales. Kulasekara will come in handy in windy conditions that can assist him in swinging the ball well.
Who remembers Malinga's stunning 4-34 against New Zealand at #CT13?
— ICC (@ICC) April 24, 2017
Sri Lanka Squad for Champions Trophy 2017:
Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga (vice-capt), Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna.