Change in outlook in the national cricket in new selectors and a set of new players among seniors has generated new hope for Sri Lanka embarking on the test tour of Pakistan on Saturday, September 24. “With the new selection committee and some new players change brings hope and people look forward to hear of positive results,” was the expectant message from Sri Lanka Cricket’s (CEO), Ashley De Silva to the media who could encourage the players at Thursday’s media briefing in view of the first leg of the tour. Sri Lanka play the first Test from September 28 to October 2 in Abu Dhabi, and the second Test from October 6 to 10 in a historic day-night game with the pink ball. As he stressed, this was the first time Sri Lanka had agreed to play a day-night test, and with the use of the pink ball was significant. Of course, the last T20 scheduled in Lahore on October 29 would go ahead after assessing the security situation there which SLC would decide on after obtaining a security report of its own. “We would look at the security there and only on that assurance that the go ahead will be given,” the CEO said. He concluded on the note that overall it was a balanced squad with a few seniors too.
Asked for his views, Skipper Dinesh Chandimal said, “It is a decision all players have to collectively take. Thisara Perera who was in Pakistan recently had said that the security there was good.”
Team and Cricket Manager, Asanga Gurusinha said, “We heard of Angelo’s (Mathews) inability to tour only on Wednesday. Unfortunate as it was it would be an opportunity for a young player.” He was of the opinion that Mathews should only bat and not bowl as that was a sidelining stress on him. But the player had voiced keenness to bowl on the Pakistan tour. But Mathews who was high value input had the option of joining the squad on injury clearance. As to Lahiru Thirimanne being handed the vice captaincy, the selectors had thought of the future. The captain’s opinion too had been sought on the matter. On the question of injuries, he opined that the players were peak fit. Injuries were a soft issue and not related to fitness. Unfortunately Sri Lanka did not have the luxury like India of resting players given the available talent.
Head Coach, Nic Pothas chipped in that overly in elite sports there was a 15 per cent injury margin. With the Sri Lanka team it was 7 per cent.
Sri Lanka Test squad:
Dinesh Chandimal (Capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (V. Capt), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilruwan Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Gamage.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket