Before starting, in yesterday’s article I mentioned Minod Bhanuka in my team but you guys chose Chandimal over Minod. By batting records you can choose Chandimal over Minod but everybody knew that Minod is the better keeper of the 2. A wicket keeper may not be important for a T20 game unlike a Test match. But a keeper’s crucial decisions in DRS calls, maintaining the intensity of the fielders and obviously catches (win matches) are important. Plus Minod opening can maintain the left-right combination.
That might be the Stats spoiler of the day: In every series win under Dasun’s captaincy, Minod Bhanuka played as a wicketkeeper at least a single match in each series.(Credits: Sri Lanka Troll Cricket Facebook page)
You can find my previous blog here: https://www.islandcricket.lk/blogs/time-to-consider-chamika-karunaratne-as-a-proper-middle-order-batter/
So now we’ll take a look at the bowling department
Compared to the batting order struggle, choosing the bowling seems to be an easy job because we have only 3 positions to fill up and we have 4 bowlers. Hence we can choose those players according to match conditions.
It’s a no brainer that Chameera will be at 9. For 10 and 11 we have to go with either 2 spinners or 1 pacer-1 spinner combination. But assigning the role for each bowler is going to be the biggest headache.
We have got no suitable new ball partner for Chameera. They have tried Chamika, Dasun and the spinners with not much success. And since Chameera have to bowl 2 or 3 overs during power plays, Chamika has to lead the death overs attack which I personally feel is a lot to ask from him at this moment.
So we’ve left with two choices here. First is bringing in Nuwan Pradeep to the XI to sort out the power play overs struggle. Second, that Shanaka have to improve himself as a full time bowler. The second option is too much to ask from Shanaka considering that he has to lead the team and need to work on his batting as well. If you believe Shanaka can pull this off remember what happened to Kusal Perera who had opened the batting, lead the team and kept wickets for 9 matches?
So it’s my opinion that including Nuwan Pradeep will be better for our bowling attack.
The reason I said to include Nuwan Pradeep is because due to the inexperience of the two spinners Praveen and Mahesh. Because Hasasranga’s overs will be best suited for controlling run flow/picking up wickets. I suggest that Hasaranga bowling 11th, 13th and 15th overs plus one over in the first ten is the best plan.
If Nuwan Pradeep doesn’t play, the role for spinners (including part timers) will be like bowling at least 3 overs during the power plays and 5 during the middle overs. If Pradeep comes in, it’ll be easy for one specialist spinner and part time bowlers. (Purposely I didn’t mention Hasaranga in spinners list here because I’d already assigned his 4 overs in previous paragraph)
In that case I will add Mahesh Theekshana into my XI because he’s got the mystery element. If the situation demands runs control over wickets I’ll consider Praveen.
And sums up the list of No.9, 10 and 11
9. Dushmantha Chameera
10. Mahesh Theekshana/ Praveen Jayawickrama
11. Nuwan Pradeep
And that concludes my list of the best XI for Sri Lanka in the upcoming T20 Worldcup. Even though our Sri Lankan cricketers haven’t got that much of experience in T20 internationals, I used those limited stats to analyze their performance and never included their domestic T20s performance. Because for example, Dasun Shanaka’s strike rate against spin in T20s is 110.95 But in Internationals its goes down to 93.25
By the way I analyzed the bowling stats during each phase of a T20 internationals for Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep and Chamika Karunaratne. (Praveen’s and Mahesh’s data were not enough) Then only I came up with this bowling idea. Due to some technical difficulties I couldn’t upload that data. Apologies for that.
The Best XI Backups
1. Kusal Perera (wk) Minod Bhanuka
2. Avishka Fernando Dinesh Chandimal
3. Bhanuka Rajapaksa
4. Angelo Mathews
5. Charith Asalanka Kamindu Mendis
6. Chamika Karunaratne
7. Dasun Shanaka (c)
8. Wanindu Hasaranga
9. Dushmantha Chameera
10. Mahesh Theekshana Praveen Jayawickrama
11. Nuwan Pradeep
Whoever plays in the team, no matter what happens they’ll perform to their full potential because they’re going to represent their country. As loyal fans we’re going to support them. But don’t forget that, just because a player didn’t perform well in a particular match or series doesn’t necessarily mean he’s a bad player.
Don’t forget to put your favorite XI in the comments and please do let me know if you have any ideas for my next article. (I thought about analyzing Mickey Arthur’s 2 year tenure with Sri Lanka Cricket)