So the selectors came out with the champions trophy squad as many close watchers of the sri lankan team would agree the selections as usual were uninspired .As usual the selectors went with the tried and failed combinations . This shows the selectors are actually more interested in saving face rather than moving the team forward.
The first thing we need to think about is the pitch conditions and the teams we’ll be playing against .Going by what I’ve seen in the recent past the pitches are going to be flat with good bounce and easy pace this is because England rely on batsmen to win them games.So we shouldn’t expect anything less than great batting decks. Teams are going to score 300+ even against top bowling attacks. So as a fan when I see our bowling attack I know we have no chance of progressing to the semis.First up we’ve got malinga who I think has great tactical knowledge and the last of the sri lankan greats still playing.But looking at him in the ipl it’s clear he’s struggling to bowl 4 overs how is he going to bowl 10. And even 4 overs he bowls there is a drastic difference in pace from where he was at prior to injury .Without the pace to spear in the Yorkers he relys too much on slower balls which is easy for the batsmen. And we’re not sure about malinga’s ability to bowl length because he’s only bowled in t20’s .
Then we’ve got kulasekara another player way past his prime he’ll just be canon fodder for the opposition batsmen .Nuwan pradeep can be a good bowler he can bowl good lines and lengths can bowl good yorker but the question is can he do it in big games. Personally I think he hasn’t played enough games plus he has a horrible injury record.Suranga lakmal who has been our stand out player in the last few series can only bowl in opening phase of the game.Lakmal can’t bowl at the death overs because he doesn’t have any variations .So the fast bowling options are riddled with problems let’s look at the spinner s to be honest I think Sandakan shouldn’t even be playing limited overs he should be allowed to hone his skills in test cricket.Most off the time he’s either to full or too short even in test cricket .He can hardly be trusted to control the middle overs.That brings us to seekuga prasanna a player with no cricketing intelligence it baffles me how he got picked over other proper leggies.Noticable that we have no left arm spinner which is a big loss because left arm spinners provide control and wickets in the middle overs.
In the group stage we’ll play against south Africa who are a truly modern batting lineup who completely destroyed our bowling attack recently ,India who are probably the tournament favorites.The only respite will come against Pakistan who are plagued by the same problems we have but they too are hugely unpredictable . So if you’re a fan don’t expect much from the bowlers.Only way sri lanka avoid getting hammered is if they start with lakmal and kulasekara . bowl prasanna and the part timers in the middle overs and about 7 overs of malinga at the death.And hope against hope that everything goes their way.
Compared to the bowling the batting is more stable at least on paper.In tharanga and dickwella we have a solid opening pair . In tharanga’s case it’ll be interesting to see which player we see. The meek tharanga who has cement feet who pokes at balls and gets out. Or the confident tharanga who takes bowlers apart.For dickwella it’s about how long he bat’s if he can bat 30 overs sri lanka will be truely ahead of the game.The fortunes of these two will have a big impact on how well sri lanka do in this tournament. It’s safe to say that if the opening partnership fails in the first ten overs sri lanka will fail.The other big thing sri lanka needs to improve is middle overs(10-40) batting.Too many times chandimal,matthews eats up a lot of dot balls to get going.Sri lanka needs to capitalize on the fact that bowlers can’t protect both sides of the wicket take calculated risks.Given the weaknesses of the bowling it’s important the batsmen step up with their performance this tournament .How well the batsmen will dictate how far sri lanka will go.
And finally on fitness and fielding .For all the talk on these subjects the current 15 might be the worst ever fielding unit to play for sri lanka in a major tournament.
LIKELY STARTING XI : Tharanga, Dickwella, Mendis, Chandimal, Matthews, Gunarathna, T.perera, Prasanna, kulasekara, Lakmal, Malinga