By Osanda Prashan Gunaratna
Sri Lanka Cricket will need to look forward, towards their new generation of batsman with the grand T20I exit of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene with being crowned as the ICC World T20 champions.
It is due time to establish and replace the iconic legends of Sri Lankan cricket with 2 or more talented batsmen of the similar caliber, talent and of high performance. This will require special attention, patience and accurate performance analysis of the batsman by the selectors along with the assistance of the coaching staff. The challenge of introducing young yet experienced batsmen without Sanga and Mahela in the T20 XI, that may be answered in the only T20I to be played in England in May.
Having seasoned young batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, who has already being assured a place in the T20 XI with his impressive performances throughout the Asia Cup and also in the World T20 will do a world of good for Sri Lanka to rebuild yet again for a new generation of batsman to perform in the mold Sanga and Mahela have done in the past 15 years.
Along with Thirimanne, ideally the much talked about SL’s original T20 skipper Dinesh Chandimal who promised so much for Sri Lankan cricket since his debut in 2010, however presently depressingly underperforming, Chandimal will need to come up with a combo, in a nature which Mahela & Sanga orchestrated throughout their carriers to be hailed as 2 of the most prolific batsmen of all format whether it is tests, ODIs & T20Is.
Chandimal being terribly out of form in T20Is, with an average of just 12, hardly even of tail ender batsmen, will require to fight back into form and show his critics and fans how prolific he can be as a T20 batsman taking inspiration from the likes of Kohli, Myburgh, Tom Cooper and Maxwell who have excelled in the World T20 to become a force T20I cricket.
Apart from Thirimanne & Chandimal, the batsman who has impressed the most for Sri Lanka with a match saving innings of 74 on debut vs Pakistan and impressive knocks against Bangladesh and strong performances in the Asia cup, it is the young attacking right hander batsman Ashan Priyanjan more suitable for Sri Lanka in both ODI’s and T20Is going forward.
The Sri Lanka Cricket selectors, even in the most difficult times will require to back these 3 promising batsmen to lead Sri Lanka’s future batting resurgence along with Kusal Perera, Angelo Mathews,Thisara Perera and the bowlers contributing towards Sri Lanka’s success.
The time for Sri Lankan Cricket future starts now, only time will tell how well they would perform and lead the team towards success and victory.