Sri Lanka’s 23-member World Cup squad includes a plenty of spinners ( Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ramesh Mendis, Kamindu Mendis, Charith Asalanka etc ) as seaming options in the squad are limited.
Meanwhile, the upcoming T20 World Cup will be held in Dubai and Sharjah, where the IPL is currently taking place. Mahela Jayawardene‘s side, defending champions Mumbai Indians(MI) restricted Rajasthan Royals to 90-9 yesterday and chased down the target in just 8.2 overs in romping to an eight-wicket win in Sharjah to stay in the race for the final IPL play-off berth.
Fast bowling all-rounders, Nathan Coulter-Nile (4-14) and Jimmy Neesham (3-12) were the standout performers with the ball as Coulter-Nile, Neesham and Bumrah shared 9 wickets for just 40 runs in 12 overs. While Trent Boult and Kieron Pollard also bowled decent spells, spinner Jayant Jadhav was the only uneconomical bowler for MI yesterday.
As Sharjah’s wicket doesn’t provide much support for spinners, Mumbai had left out their spin bowling all-rounder Krunal Pandya to pick seaming all-rounder Jimmy Neesham while Mumbai’s premier spinner Rahul Chahar had been left out too.
It seems that fast bowlers who can bowl cutters and slow balls can be more effective than spinners in these non-spinning Sharjah wickets. This is also evidenced by the fact that all top five wicket takers in this year’s IPL so far are seamers (Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh).
We are unlucky to lose seaming all-rounder Lahiru Madushanka due to an injury, who could be effective in these non-spin friendly conditions in Sharjah and Dubai. Adding Binura Fernando ( if he’s fit ) to the final 15-member squad as a replacement for Madushanka, rather than packing the squad up with too many inexperienced spinners, will be more beneficial for Sri Lanka during the forthcoming world cup.
Moreover, experienced wrist spinner Lakshan Sandakan also deserves a place in the squad considering his brilliant form in this year’s T20 internationals.