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Despite being T20 World Champions, Sri Lanka are an embarrassment

Sri Lanka, Lasith Malinga, T20 World Cup, Angelo Mathews
Sri Lanka have not recovered from the retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. On current form, they are probably the weakest squad to defend their title at a world tournament.

Defeat to India in the Asia Cup, which put the Men in Blue into the final, left Sri Lanka on the brink of elimination. In the post-match presser, their captain Angelo Mathews seemed to negate the talents of most players in his squad. Twenty20 is widely and rather falsely considered a young man’s game, but with Mathew saying, “we are depending on a handful of seniors most of the time”, the next generation of Sri Lanka’s T20 cricketers are clearly not up to scratch.

Here’s a challenge: how many cricket fans, outside of those glued to their TV sets in Sri Lanka, can name the playing XI of Sri Lanka. We’d bet you, it won’t be many. They seem to have an eclectic mix of players with names that are passed across generations – Jayasuriya for example – but unfortunately that talent doesn’t seem to have been passed down to the newer generation.

Angelo’s words were stinging, “The selectors and the captain have picked a squad, which they think is good,” clearly belying his outwardly positive demeanour. However, as captain he needs to ensure the negativity doesn’t spread and he keeps faith with his young guns especially at a time when the world’s eyes will be on them as they defend their World T20 title this month.

Sri Lanka’s problems have been augmented by the fact that the seniors, including Mathews, haven’t performed as well. Former T20 captain Dinesh Chandimal is not matching his potential, big-hitter Thisara Perera has been reduced to a bowling all-rounder and Lasith Malinga is injured more often than he is fit. However it’s their most experienced player Tillakaratne Dilshan, whose form is the most concerning. He has managed only 57 runs in two defeats and one victory (vs UAE) in the Asia Cup but with the lack of alternatives, has to be backed to come good.

 

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