Home > Features >

Sri Lanka have the right blend of youth and experience for ICC World T20 2014

Sri-Lankan-cricketers-walk-back-to-the-dressing-room-after-winning-the-seventh-match-of-the-Asia-Cup-one-day-cricket-tournament-between-Sri-Lanka-and-Afghanistan
The young Sri Lankans have taken no time in settling into the team thanks to the stable makeup of the team © AFP

By R Vishal

After faltering in International Cricket Council (ICC) tournaments for number of years at the final hurdle, Sri Lanka broke the jinx to clinch the Asia Cup 2014 in style through Lahiru Thirimanne’s century, with veteran Mahela Jayawardene providing ample support.

More than breaking the shackles and showing the bottle at the biggest occasion, it is the reservoir of talent that the Island nation have for the present and the future across formats that puts them in good stead. With the senior players around and guiding the team ably their future is bright for the foreseeable future.

The great Sri Lankan team of the 1990s always prided on their strength in the batting line-up. Then Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara took over the mantle from Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga. Now too we can think of plenty of contenders to fill the shoes of the decorated duo who are proud owners of the highest ever partnership in Tests.

While their Test team is still a work-in-progress, their One-Day International (ODI) team has seen a vast influx of talent at the top order; young, hungry and eager to stake their claim by playing fearless and attacking brand of cricket that they have thrived on.

ICC World T20 2014 schedule: Match time table with venue details

Kusal Perera, with his Sanath Jayasuriya-like swagger and stroke-making abilities has proved that he is no poor imitation of the Matara dasher and is the real deal at the top of the order. With the once forgotten man Thirimanne making a stunning comeback into the scheme of things, it provides the team management with a wealth of options.

Dinesh Chandimal’s blow hot-blow cold form might be a bit of concern after the immense promise he showed when he broke in the scene. But he has shown glimpses of getting back to his former self with a couple of decent outings in the Asia Cup and in the ODI series against Bangladesh. He is slowly finding his groove back.

Even a late entrant like Ashan Priyanjan has used his opportunities well. He can be counted upon as an additional bowling option in the mix. Kithuruwan Vithanage scored a blistering hundred against Bangladesh recently, but tougher challenges await the lanky southpaw who bats down the order. With age on his side, he will get chances to prove his mettle.

The once brittle looking lower-order has now become quite a formidable force. In captain, Angelo Mathews, the Sri Lankans have a player who is reliable, consistent and capable of clearing the boundary. Thisara Perera’s exponential rise as a lower order batsman gives Sri Lanka the edge in close contests; a role that spinner Sachitra Senanayake has also reprised admirably in recent times.

In the Asia Cup, a rookie Chaturanga de Silva stood up and put in fine performances in his very first tournament. Though, he came into the side as a batsman, his slow bowling abilities were impressive. Lasith Malinga’s toe-crushers are as reliable as ever. Suranga Lakmal displayed significant improvement in his bowling after tying Pakistan down with some disciplined spells, although, the pace bowling department could do with an able partner for the brilliant Malinga. As a makeshift arrangement, Mathews and the team management should be credited for using their resources smartly and bringing the best out of their limited options.

With Sangakkara and Jayawardene still going strong and treating all three formats of the game with equal merit, Sri Lanka are an organised and a stable outfit compared to many other teams, who choose to go in with completely contrasting sides across formats.

While the old warhorses at the helm and free of captaincy duties, the new players entering the fray have found it easier to blend in. It could also be due to the aforementioned stability in personnel that the team management have opted for.

There was a time when Sri Lanka used to rely heavily on Muttiah Muralitharan for wickets. Nowadays though, the setup has quickly moved onto chart a different route to success since the spin legend’s retirement.

Even with the contract issue threatening to derail the team at one point, they have again shunned external issues to the corner and focused on matters on the field.

After braving civil war and bloodshed in the country, the Sri Lankan team went on to win the 1996 World Cup. In comparison, the contract dilemma looks tame and in the shorter formats at least, Sri Lanka are ready to entertain and win hearts with their swashbuckling brand of cricket and should go in as one of the favourites to win the ICC World T20 2014.

(R Vishal is a journalist and an alumni of the Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Dambulla

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (08:50 IST)   at Sydney

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Chittagong

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

More

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Melbourne

Australia won by 3 wkts

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 20, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled(Match rescheduled to 21/11/2014)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 19, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

PCB’s biggest challenge is to bring back international cricket to Pakistan: Subhan Ahmad

Tim Southee’s 50 Test sixes and related records

India vs Australia 2014: India may have heavy dose of pace in store in 1st Test

Ross Taylor’s crucial knock against Pakistan will boost his sub-par subcontinent record

Stuart Binny — can the all-rounder be a trump card for India in ODIs?

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 India New Zealand New Zealand tour of UAE 2014 New Zealand vs Pakistan New Zealand vs Pakistan 2014 Pakistan Pakistan vs New Zealand Pakistan vs New Zealand 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe, 2nd ODI at Chittagong Preview: Hosts look to build on winning start

Colin Ingram joins Glamorgan under Kolpak ruling

Assad Fudadin replaces Darren Bravo in West Indies Test squad for South Africa tour

George Bailey does not expect Test recall for series against India

Kumar Sangakkara asked to review retirement plans: Reports

Has Umesh Yadav cemented his place in India’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad?

The Melbourne Cricket Club is formed

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014: Sabbir Rahman fires explosive 44 on debut

World Cup 1979: Mike Hendrick blows Pakistan away

Shakib Al Hasan becomes 12th player to hit ODI century and take four wickets in same match

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here