October 16, 2019
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    Dimuth, Mathews in line for World Cup captaincy

    March 15, 2019

    In line for World Cup captaincy: Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga.Sri Lanka’s disastrous performance in the ongoing five-match One-Day International series against South Africa where they have lost all four matches played to-date and are starring at a 5-0 whitewash have thrown their selections for the 2019 World Cup in a state of disarray and put the captaincy of Lasith Malinga on the line.

    The veteran fast bowler was tipped to lead his country to the 2019 World Cup in England but as the way things have unfolded in South Africa the chances of Malinga retaining the captaincy for the mega event lies in the balance.“It’s not that Malinga is doing a bad job it is just that he can’t get the team together as they are in like different camps,” said chief selector Ashantha de Mel.

    “Since we are having a problem in the batting we are looking at seeing whether giving someone like Dimuth Karunaratne to open the batting to hold up one end will work. All the batsmen are playing shots and getting out. We need someone at least to bat up in the order.“Dimuth captained the Test side well and he has good rapport with the players it is one option we can look at. Not that it is confirmed but that is something that we are looking at,” hinted De Mel.

    “For the World Cup we need the team to blend together not having different camps and things like that. The Test match also we won because Dimuth got all the players together.“If the coach is being changed I don’t know what they are doing, Angelo Mathews can also captain. At present he and the coach don’t get on. Those are the options that we are looking at,” De Mel said.

    Malinga has the fifth and final ODI plus the three T20Is against South Africa to turn things around with head coach Chandika Hathurusingha being called back to Colombo by Sri Lanka Cricket and fielding coach Steve Rixon being handed the head coach’s role for the remainder of the South African tour.The upcoming SLC provincial fifty-over tournament is expected to be the yardstick for final selection for the World Cup as well as for the appointment of the captain. The tournament is scheduled to be held from April 4-11 with the four provinces having a squad of 15 players each.“We are playing the matches in Pallekele and Dambulla on good pitches. We are playing only day games in England so we will stimulate day games but keep a little bit of grass on the tracks. Dambulla there is a little of bit of breeze and in Kandy there is a bit of bounce on the track,” said De Mel.

    “What we thought is we will appoint one captain for each of the four provinces Dimuth, Mathews, Malinga and another and see how things work out. We will have a look and see how they are playing and captaining and then talk to the coaches and managers whoever the new people are make the changes and see how to get this team together. We want them to perform together rather than having factions within, team unity is very important,” he said.

    De Mel expressed disappointment at the Lankan batting that has failed to bat out the full quota of 50 overs in the current ODI series against South Africa.“We need to blend the batting with some experience and how we are going to get 300 plus runs otherwise we can’t be competitive,” said De Mel.

    Sri Lanka’s highest total so far is 231 in 47 overs in the first ODI at Johannesburg and that is the longest they have batted in the entire series with only Kusal Mendis of the front line batsmen and fast bowling all-rounder Isuru Udana having crossed the fifty-run mark.Despite the poor performances De Mel was optimistic that the younger players in the team like Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando would gain a lot for the future.

    “Avishka Fernando looks a good player but he has played only 3 or 4 games he doesn’t have the experience. If you take Oshada he has played about the same number of games. In the middle also if we put any new guys they haven’t played many matches,” said De Mel.

    “These boys are playing in South Africa and facing fast bowlers like Rabada and Ngidi, who the best in the world and they are gaining a lot of experience. Of course the English pitches won’t be as difficult as the South African ones. Even better teams have not performed that well in ODIs in South Africa, but we have always done well in England,” he said.

    Last modified on Friday, 15 March 2019 12:16

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