SL team faced yet another humiliating odi series defeat in home, yes the opponents were strong and in top gear but the sad thing to see is that there were not any real challenge to them it seem like walk in the park for the Englishmen. Biggest fun factor is that English spin duo is far better than our spinners, i mean when did that happen ?? And since when our batsmen struggles to play good old fashioned off spin let alone the leg spin ?? these are things that 4-5 years ago people told as jokes !
In my opinion these were the critical factors in recent defeats –
1) Top order doesn't trust each other – look those guys bat, all of them are good attacking players but they hesitate to play their natural game cause they know a wicket will bring 2-3 more and suddenly we looking at playing 50 overs ! (this thing was increased by the chandika's plan to not having fix positions to each batsman and they seem confused with their roll) We have to learn from England, i
mean look how their top order bat without any fear of getting out cause they know if one fail next man will play as well as him.
2)Inability to convert starts to big innings – Through out the past our batsmen struggles to convert starts to hundreds almost all the time lot of them play 30-35 and gets out and team total always ends up at under par score. look at dickwella or dhanushka even in their peak they will not bat through the innings against a good team specially in the modern game quick runs at the top doesn't count atleast one from top 4 has to be there @ the end.
3) Lack of batting depth – This is also a factor in earlier pointed out fact, yes i believe in shanaka @6 and thisara@7 is a good option considering their recent batting form but again if we look 4th odi carefully as soon as shanaka got out thisara dropped down to playing full quota of overs mentality because the tail does not stick for long. there should be atleast couple of bowlers @ 9&10 who can bat well.
4) Lack of penetration in bowling – our bowling unit is look one dimensional there is no variety no aggression we just simply rely on akila and 35yr old malinga all the other bowlers our run stopping options and that type of bowlers are long gone from odi cricket. only way to reduce run rate is to take wickets and we don't have that option. All these lakmals, rajithas,aponsus, pradeeps etc. are test bowlers who rely on line and length we need people who has something different to offer. Thats how we rule odi cricket in our prime by the likes of mendis, murali,malinga etc.
5) Fitness – All those facts about poor fielding , running between wickets our side effects of tis. simply we our not fit enough in my opinion we our the worst in top 8 teams. Lot of people blame the Dayasiri's belly talk but i think it had a valid point, take Kholi or Root for example their inning is wrapped around those singles and twos while on the other hand we rely on block block hit method.
As the 2k19 world cup looming around the corner, without correcting these facts we are looking at possibly the worst world cup ever for Sri Lanka. in the current form i don't expect to win any match in WC ( maybe 1 after a close game with windies ).
In my personal opinion this is the team i come up with to minimize some of the above mentioned faults and to secure some dignity in the WC
1) Kusal perera (aggressive opener)
2) Lahiru Thirimanne ( can build long innings with good strike rate) ( solves problem 2 )
3) Dinesh Chandimal (C) ( hold the innings )
4) Dhananjaya De Silva ( can play according to the situation with good rate )
5) Angelo Mathews ( Fully Fit) ( finisher and also can hold the innings if top order fails )
6) Dasun Shanaka ( finisher )
7) Thisara Perera ( finisher )
8) Jeewn Mendis (Wrist spin with batting ability ) ( solves problem 3 & 4 )
9) Isuru Udana ( left arm pace with batting ability + death bowling ) ( solves problem 3 & 4 )
10) Akila Dhananjaya ( Mystery Spinner )
11) Lasith Malinga
Bench – 12) Vikum Sanjaya / Suranga Lakmal (Extra seamer if one gets injured )
13) Dhanushka Gunathilake ( extra opener )
14) Ashan Priyanjana ( extra middle order batsman )
15) Lahiru Kumara / Dushmantha Chameera ( +145 pace if required )