As the 2015 world cup fast approaching Sri Lanka have to get the right balance in the ODI set up in the remaining 3 ODI’s against SA, 3 ODI’s against PAK, 7 ODI’s ENG and 7 ODI’s against NZ just before a month the global tournament begin in down under.
Still there are doubts about some positions in the team. It is clear that Dilshan, Sangakkara, Jayawardena and skipper Mattews are firmly grasp 4 batting positions in the playing 11. Then there will remain question marks over the 3 remaining batting positions or will they want to go with 2 batting positions with a one all rounder at the number 7.
Kusal, Tharanga, Thirimanne, Chandimal, Priyangan, Kapugedara, Kithuruwan, Thisara and Maharoof can be considered to fill these vacancies.
I don’t mind the exclusion of Chandimal for the 1st and 2nd ODI’s against SA as he have given ample of opportunities but he haven’t justified the selection and sometimes played some bad shots to get out. I saw some people commenting that Chandi should give a proper place in the top order in the team. But he had some opportunities in the top order still did not capitalize it in the recent past.
But I believe we cannot accommodate a permanent position in the top 4 for a player as long as Mahela and Sanga there as this will affect the team performance. Not only for Chandi as this happen to Kapu in the past well and better not to ignore him as well when going forward. Kapu is definitely a much better slogger than Chandi in the late middle order. Better Kapugedara also give a chance to see whether he will grasp the opportunity after some time.
Talking about the opening position I prefer Kusal and not a big fan of Tharanga but having said that Tharanga has always perform for the national team when given the opportunity and he was in brilliant form in the recently concluded Super 4’s T20 tournament. I don’t mind even if Tharanga came as opener and Kusal to come late middle so he can give the late flourish that we needed in the latter overs.
Thirimanne seems to be going a bad patch but we simply can’t forget that he is the man of the series in the Asia cup with two centuries and played well in the T20 world cup too. He also become the MoM in the deciding one day against Eng. As he is the vice captain better persist with him in the playing 11 for some time until if it get worse for him.
Coming to Kithurwan and Priyanjan I see that Kithuruwan have a much better technique and a more attacking batsman than Priyanjan. But Priyanjan is much better bowler than Kithuruwan and it may come handy if we want to get more useful spin bowling.
Since the world cup will be playing in down under it will be better to go with a fast bowling all rounder than a spin bowling all rounder. Thisara Perera will be the most preferred candidate for this position but in the recent months that his form with the bowl has dramatically failed resulted him not in the playing 11 in the ODI series in Eng. But his hitting capabilities will come very handy as he won couple of matches for SL with pure individual brilliance in the past. His main threat will come from Maharoof with his experience and may be both Thisara and Maharoof can find a place in the squad or the playing 11. Don’t see any other fast bowling all rounder who can come to the side at the moment replacing these two.