A team which reached 5 out of 7 finals in ICC world tournaments in between 2007 & 2014 (including world T20) was struggling to find a strong 15-member squad for World cup 2019.
They have a captain in Dimuth Karunaratne, who hasn’t played a single ODI in the last 4 years for Sri Lanka. The team environment currently also looks distorted.
Let’s first look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Sri Lanka Team in World cup 2019:
1. Lack of Explosive Batsmen:
Out of all the batsmen they have, I don’t see a lot of them, who can come and hit boundaries from ball one. This could be a huge weakness considering the fact that the world cup 2019 is played in England.
We can expect big totals being scored by all the teams, and the batting line-up Sri Lanka has, I don’t expect them to score 280-290 scores too often.
Yes, they have Kusal Perera, Angelo Matthews, but these are players of their own day. They don’t have some solid players who will give you an assurance of runs in 9/10 matches.
2. Lack of Quality Seam Bowlers:
Their bowling is a huge weakness. They have picked a lot of bits and pieces players who can bat a bit and bowl a bit.
They don’t have the quality in the bowling department which can stop oppositions from reaching big totals. Nuwan Pradeep & Lakmal are the options available to them.
I don’t find both of them quite pleasing to the eye and none of them cause tension in mind of the batsmen when they come to bowl. They have a veteran in Lasith Malinga, but I don’t know how many matches will he play.
Will Malinga be available for the entire world cup 2019? Even Sri Lankan Cricket doesn’t have the answer to that question.
If we talk about a few positives, then it would be their all-rounders. Thisara Perera and Usuru Udana in their comebacks have looked good and have performed well for Sri Lanka in the recent matches played.
Jeevan Mendis is also a good spin bowling all-rounder. He can bat a bit and bowl some good leg break if required. Angelo Matthews is also one of the best all-rounders that Sri Lanka has produced, but he hasn’t been consistent for them, which is a huge concern.
We all expected Matthews to become a big player, but he couldn’t become that. His lack of consistency has been a major problem for Sri Lanka but if somehow he is able to bring back that consistency, nothing like it!
Expected Playing XI:
1. Kusal Perera
2. Dimuth Karunaratne
3. Lahiru Thirimanne
4. Kusal Mendis
5. Angelo Matthews
6. Jeevan Mendis
7. Thisara Perera
8. Isuru Udana
9. Jeffery Vandersay
10. Suranga Lakmal
11. Lasith Malinga
12. Milinda Siriwardana
13. Dhananjaya de Silva
14. Nuwan Pradeep
15. Avishka Fernando
Fixtures for World cup 2019:
01/06- vs New Zealand @Cardiff
04/06- vs Afghanistan @Cardiff
07/06- vs Pakistan @Bristol
11/06- vs Bangladesh @Bristol
15/06- vs Australia @London
21/06- vs England @Leeds
28/06- vs South Africa @Chester-le-Street
01/07- vs West Indies @Chester-le-Street
06/07- vs India @Leeds
Where will Sri Lanka finish in world cup 2019?
Sri Lanka, in my opinion, is surely not in contention for semi-finals of world cup 2019. All they need to do currently is play fearless cricket and express themselves as much as possible. That’s the only way they can do well in this tournament.
If they win even 3 matches in World cup 2019, I would say they have done really well with the resources they have. The big players have to step up for them.
The likes of Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera have to fire if Sri Lanka is hoping to get somewhere close to the semi-finals but for me, they are not in the scheme of things for the semis in world cup 2019.