Sri Lanka has announced their 15-member squad with Dasun Shanaka at the helm as captain. However, the squad has been marred by a string of unfortunate injuries to key players, denting the island nation’s aspirations in the upcoming tournament.
Leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, a linchpin in Sri Lanka’s cricketing endeavors, headlines the list of players who will be absent from the Asia Cup roster due to injury concerns. Alongside him, the pace department also bears the brunt of injuries, with Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Madushanka, and Lahiru Kumara ruled out from the squad owing to their respective injuries.
The squad reshuffle prompted Sri Lankan Cricket to enlist Binura Fernando and Pramod Madushan as late inclusions, stepping in to fill the void left by the injured players. Kusal Perera, who is making a comeback to the ODI squad after a hiatus of two years, is facing an unforeseen hurdle as he battles flu. The Sri Lankan Cricket board issued a statement affirming that Perera will rejoin the squad once he has made a full recovery.
The absence of star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga poses the most significant setback for Sri Lanka’s campaign. Hasaranga’s thigh injury, sustained during the Lanka Premier League, has cast a shadow over his participation in the Asia Cup. His crucial role in the team’s setup will be sorely missed, amplifying the challenges for the Sri Lankan side.
Chameera, dealing with a pectoral injury, and Madushanka, who incurred an injury during a recent practice match, are additional casualties in the fast-bowling department. Lahiru Kumara’s sidelining due to a side strain further compounds Sri Lanka’s bowling woes.
With the leadership mantle entrusted to Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Mendis assumes the role of vice-captain, forming a vital duo that will guide Sri Lanka’s fortunes in the tournament. The squad features a dynamic array of all-rounders, including Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, and Dhananjaya de Silva, contributing to the team’s versatility.
Amidst the injuries and shuffle, the spin department takes on a critical dimension, with Maheesh Theekshana tasked with overseeing the spin arsenal in Hasaranga’s absence. Theekshana’s responsibilities will be complemented by the assistance of Dunith Wellalage and Dushan Hemantha.
Sri Lanka’s campaign in the Asia Cup 2023 kicks off with a clash against Bangladesh on Thursday at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Janith Perera, Kusal Mendis (vc), Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dushan Hemantha, Binura Fernando and Pramod Madushan. (ANI)