Sri Lanka’s Squad for the Cricket World Cup 2019: A Cricketry Analysis

The cricket world cup 2019 is fast approaching. At the moment Sri Lanka ranked at number 8 of the ICC ODI rankings. One would say it is futile to think about winning a world cup given the recent form of the Sri Lankan team. But if Kusal Perera’s courageous impinging showed us one thing, that is that we Sri Lankans are still a formidable opponent. Why, he did it against arguably the best bowling line-ups in the world.

Therefore, we at the Cricketry Sri Lanka, decided to take a look at our chances for cricket world cup 2019 starting with the potential squad. For the next two months (Since the world cup starts in May), we will be updating this article depending on our team’s performance in the upcoming South African ODI series.

Let’s start with the two openers:

In our mind, we have several potential candidates for this position. While Niroshan Dickewella and Dhanushka Gunathilake seem to be the strongest candidates at the moment, Upul Tharanga and Avishka Fernando may threaten their position given the current form both of them are in. We have separatly analysed the potential oppeners and you can find the Cricketry Sri Lanka analysis on “Who should be our openers for world cup 2019” here.

Number 3 Position:

This position is traditionally reserved for the best batsmen of the team. While we believe Kusal Mendis to be best suited for this position, he might not even be selected for the world cup squad given his form the past few months. What’s more, he seems to lack the responsibility needed to play at this position.

Dhananjaya De Silva is another possible candidate for this position and his ability to ball may give him an advantage. The other possibilities are either Sadeera Samarawickrama or Upul Tharanga. Upul Tharanga would be the ideal choice for this position if not for his tendency to get out cheaply against the moving ball. Given that the matches are to be played in UK, the pitches are sure to be pace friendly. This is a huge disadvantage for Tharanga’s selection.

Number 4 Position:

Again, there are two candidates for this position. Kusal Perera and Dinesh Chandimal. How ever the recent form and heroics of KJP will help him edge over Chandimal. Kusal’s big hitting might also come in handy at the end of an innings and he has shown that he has the ability to bat with the tail. So, KJP it is.

Number 5 Position:

This is a position suitable for a player who is a technically sound big hitter. Because if the top order collapse, number 5 is expected to consolidate and if the top order does well, he should be able to finish the innings. We think, the ideal candidate for this position is Angelo Mathews. If he can bowl at least 3~4 overs, that could be a game changer. If Mathews is not fit, Asela Gunarathne could be a possible replacement. But his recent form, even against the mediocre domestic teams are not very encouraging.  Milinda Siriwardhana is another possible replacement given his recent domestic form as well as the experience at the highest level.

Number 6 Position:

Traditionally, a batting allrounder occupies this position. As such, there are several candidates for this position as well. In our mind. the young Kamindu Mendis is at the helm for this position given his ability to bowl with both hands. He has also shown that he is a capable bat down the order. Jeewan Mendis could also play at this position. He is arguably a better bowler than Kamindu and his international experience may help him edge ahead of young Mendis. The other candidate for this position is Dasun Shanaka. We all saw his hitting prowess in the recent matches. Yes, he is one of our biggest hitters and he is a fast bowling all-rounder. The fact that we are playing is pace friendly wickets may be and advantage. Dhananjaya De Silva is another possibility given is batting ability.

Number 7 Position:

Typically, this is the position for the bowling allrounder. And given the current form, Thisara Perera is the most suitable player for this position. If he is not fit, Dasun Shanaka could be a replacement.

Number 8 Position:

Now we are effectively at the tail. We think this is a suitable position for the main spinner of the team. If Akila Dhanajaya is cleared for bowing, he is the best candidate for this position. He also showed that his is handy with a bat at the death overs. If he is not cleared, young Lasith Ambuldeniya could be in contention. He has shown that he can spin the bowl in pace friendly conditions and he is no muck with the bat. Sachithra Senanayak may also get a call if Dhanajaya is not available given his recent record with both bat and ball in the domestic tournaments.

Number 9 Position:

This is the position for the second spinner if the matches were to be played in the subcontinent. But since it is not, we think we should go with three seam attack. Isuru Udana is the ideal choice for this position given his experience and the ability to bowl at the death. He could be the ideal bowling partner for Malinga at the death overs. His ability with the bat is another advantage for Udana. Another possibility could be Lahiru Kumara. He has the pace and shown that he has a greater control now than when he arrived in the international scene. His pace may get him a chance here.

Number 10 Position:

There are two candidates for this position. Vishwa Fernando and Suranga Lakmal. Lakmal has the experience but lack the pace to threaten the batsmen whereas Vishwa is a left hander who can swing the ball both ways. He can also reach 140 kmph which is more than enough for a left arm seamer.

Number 11 Position:

This place is reserved for the best death bowler Sri Lanka has ever produced, our captain, Lasith Malinga.

While we were completing our analysis, one thing that came up was that apart from few players like, Lasith Malinga, Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews, Akila Dhanajaya and may be Niroshan DIckwella, most of the other positions are still up for grabs. It would be fascinating to see how the boys would perform in the South African ODI series since that is our last series before the world cup. So, what we decided to do is to post a tentative squad today. But we will be updating this line-up soon.

  1. Niroshan Dickwella
  2. Dhanushka Gunathilake
  3. Upul Tharanga / Sadeera Samarawickrama
  4. Kusal Janith Perea
  5. Angelo Mathews
  6. Kamindu Mendis/ Dhanajaya De Silva
  7. Thisara Perera
  8. Akila Dhananjaya
  9. Isuru Udana
  10. Vishwa Fernando
  11. Lasith Malinga
  12. Suranga Lakmal/ Lahiru Kumara
  13. Lasith Ambuldeniya / Sachithra Senanayake
  14. Avishka Fernando
  15. Kusal Mendis
  16. Dasun Shanaka/ Asela Gunarathna

Let us know your thoughts, did we miss anyone? are there any player that we should look into. Please comment below and we make sure to update the line-up accordingly.

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