Kumar Sangakkara (centre) might play his last World Cup in 2015 © Getty Images
Kumar Sangakkara (centre) might play his last World Cup in 2015 © Getty Images

Sri Lanka have picked their 15-man squad for the upcoming ICC World Cup 2015. They will want to go all the way this time after coming so close in the two previous editions. They have the ability to win the tournament, but  will have to be at their very best to pull it off. Pramod Ananth takes you through the talented squad.

Sri Lanka have the right mix of youth and experience in their squad. They are lead by the energetic and clever Angelo Mathews, who has had great success captaining the side in both Tests and One-Day Internationals (ODIs).

Mathews has a huge phalanx of batsmen at his disposal. Tillakaratne Dilshan will hold the key to an aggressive start. He has the ability to implode early on, which will be important if Sri Lanka are to put up a good total on the board. He will probably be partnered by Dimuth Karunaratne, who will be making his World Cup debut.

While Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeevan Mendis add to the stability of the middle order, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene will be the big wickets. With 25,000 ODI runs between them and considering the fact that this could be their last World Cup, they would want to put in all efforts to win the Cup that has eluded them for 19 years.

Mathews will also be key in the packed middle-order. He has the knack of assessing the situation of the match extremely quickly and taking decisions accordingly. If that was not enough, the explosive Thisara Perera can be a menace with the bat in the closing stages.

Sri Lanka’s bowling, on paper, looks much more impressive than their batting, but a dark cloud hangs over the fitness of their premier strike bowler Lasith Malinga. He has been out for a while with an injury but is confident of making a comeback in the later stages of the ODI series against New Zealand. This will be crucial as Sri Lanka will want him to get used to the conditions before the start of the mega event; after all, they play four of their six group stage matches in New Zealand.  Though Sri Lanka are allowed to replace him in case he does not recover, they would hope that it will not be required.

The other fast-bowling options are not too bad either.  The experience of Nuwan Kulasekara will definitely come in handy. He may not be the fastest, but he makes up for it with his accuracy and guile. Perera will play a role with his well-disguised slow deliveries, while Mathews will live up to his reputation of sending down tidy overs.

Having picked up 30 wickets in his 22 matches, Dhammika Prasad will add depth to the Sri Lankan bowling and will look to impress if and when his turn comes. Suranga Lakmal, too, has troubled the batsmen more often than not with his pace, which will be ideal for tracks in Australia and New Zealand.

The spin department relies on Rangana Herath, with Sachitra Senanayake as backup. Mathews will have to use his spinners carefully. Herath, with all his experience, will look to run through his overs as quickly as possible to build some pressure on the batsmen and take out a wicket or two;  Senanayake’s chances will be limited, but he has the chance to establish his place in the upcoming ODI series against New Zealand.

Sri Lanka squad for ICC World Cup 2015:

Angelo Mathews (c), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kumar Sangakkara Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Sachitra Senanayake Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis,  Lasith Malinga (subject to fitness)

(Pramod Ananth is a reporter at CricketCountry. He has represented Karnataka table tennis under-15, and is a hardcore supporter of Liverpool FC. His Twitter handle is @pramz)