2022 Asia Cup: Breaking down Sri Lanka's squad
Sri Lanka have named a competent-looking 18-man squad for the 2022 Asia Cup. The Lankans will be led by their regular skipper Dasun Shanaka, with all-rounder Charith Asalanka as his deputy. They will lock horns with Afghanistan in the tournament opener scheduled on August 27. Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Dinesh Chandimal have returned to the mix. We decode their squad.
Sri Lanka's squad for Asia Cup
Sri Lanka's squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Dhananjaya de Silva, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Chamika Karunaratne, Dilshan Madushanka, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwanidu Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Dinesh Chandimal.
Chandimal back in the fray among batters
Chandimal's addition to the squad is on grounds of his scintillating returns in Tests versus Australia. He was also a part of the Lankan team that toured Australia and India earlier this year. Pathum Nissanka, who had a consistent run in T20Is in Australia, will find himself at the top-order alongside Danushka Gunathilaka, and Kusal Mendis. Hard-hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksa might play in the middle-order.
Asalanka can be the trump card with the bat
Asalanka has been a promising campaigner for the Lankans since his arrival in the international arena. He had impressive returns in the T20Is against Australia, churning out knocks worth 38, 39, and 26. He can contribute to SL's scorecard to a great extent.
Bandara shone in SLC T20 League; gets a call-back
Middle-order batter Ashen Bandara last played a T20I in 2021. Plus, he has managed only four appearances in the format to date. Nonetheless, he found a calling post a rip-roaring show in this year's SLC Invitational T20 League. He clobbered 134 runs in four outings, averaging 134.00. Meanwhile, de Silva will be expected to chime in on both batting and bowling fronts.
Sri Lanka boast an able spin attack
Sri Lanka have plenty of campaigners in the spin department. Ace leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga will spearhead the same. He has averaged 17.74 in T20s played this year, besides pocketing 39 wickets. Then there's the duo of slow left-arm orthodox Praveen Jayawickrama and off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana. Leggie Vandersay returns after missing out the T20Is versus Australia but has enjoyed a decent form lately.
Sri Lanka struggle with experience in pace department
SL have a weaker pace attack on offer for the tournament. Dushmantha Chameera, who is supposed to be their go-to wicket-taking option, hasn't fully recovered from a recent injury. He might need some time to gain match fitness. Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka will be debuting in T20Is. He has played only eight T20s to date. Shanaka and Chamika Karunaratne are the other pace options.
Binura, Rajitha ruled out of Asia Cup
Pacers Binura Fernando and Kasun Rajitha were named in the original squad. However, they miss out due to injuries sustained during the 2022 SLC Invitational T20 League. Asitha Fernando and Pramod Madushan are expected to replace the duo. The latter hasn't featured in T20Is but has impeccable numbers in T20s. So far, the right-armer has captured 38 T20 scalps, averaging 17.68.