New Delhi: Sri Lanka are no more the same cricketing power house they used to be in the late 90s and the early 2000s. But they surely know what it is like to be a part of iconic ICC events.
They were co-winners of the Champions Trophy along with India in 2002 and then were in the finals of the 2007 and 2011 editions of the World Cup. But since they have had a dip in form in the 50-over format.
However, this tournament once again provides them with a platform to shine on the world stage. The Lankans have a young team which is guided by veterans like Angelo Mathews, Lasith Malinga and they will be eager to pull off something special in England.
Here we take a look at their strengths and weaknesses for the upcoming Champions Trophy.
Experience fast bowlers
Sri Lanka have in their pace arsenal, the likes of Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara who have together won many a battle for them. The likes of new comers like Suranga Lakmal will look upto these two for inspiration on English tracks which so far have been ‘as dead as a dodo’.
The death bowling also looks in good hands as both Malinga and Kulasekara can hurl the Yorkers and the slower balls at will. It will not be easy to clobber them in the slog overs.
Young batters in good form
Sri Lanka have struggled to replace the genius of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in the middle order but then they have found the likes of Dinesh Chandimal and Kusal Perera who are trying to follow in the footsteps of the two legends.
Though both Chandimal and Perera cannot boast of a brilliant average (both average below 35) they have played some crucial knocks in demanding situations to get their side across the line.
Lack of a world class spinner
Since the retirement of Muttiah Muralitharan, Sri Lanka have failed to produce a world class spinner. Rangana Herath took on the job for a few years but he too quit the format. Ajanta Mendis came in with a lot of reputation but he failed to live up to it.
Lakshan Sandakan is surely a talented Chinaman tweaker but on flat pitches, he remains an unknown commodity. Seekkuge Prasanna is another spinner who can get a look in but he is quite expensive and gets taken to the cleaners often.
Senior cricketers not in the best of touch
Upul Tharanga has not been in the best of touch and Angelo Mathews has been plagued with injuries. Now if two of the most senior members of a squad isn’t at their best in a global tournament, it hampers the confidence of the outfit.
He might not be at his prime or lethal best anymore. But the slinger is still quite a force to reckon with. Malinga has the ability to bowl the quick bouncer and then follow it up with a slower delivery or a spot on Yorker. These abilities make him a match-winner even at the age of 33.
Sri Lanka squad:
Angelo Mathews (captain), Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna