Every cloud has a silver lining. This is what we have to say about our loss to the first ODI against the Proteus. This single match gave us an excellent opportunity to look at our openers for world cup 2019.
There are several candidates for this position. But, for this analysis, we will only look at players who have opened for us in the ODIs. That means players like Dimuth Karunarathne or Kaushal Silva who were openers for our test team will not be considered.
- Upul Tharanga
Statistically, he should be one of the best candidates for this position. He has played over 200 ODIs with 15 centuries and 37 half centuries. None of the other players even come close to these stats. But if you look closer, you will see that all those centuries were scored against countries like Bangladesh or India in the subcontinent. In other words, they were in spin-friendly wickets. Out of those 15 centuries, 11 were in the subcontinent and out of the centuries he has outside the subcontinent, three are in 2006 when nobody knew his tendency to get edges. Nowadays, he seems to have developed an uncanny ability to find the edges (either outside or inside) in seaming conditions. Even today’s dismissal gives a prime example. So we think he should be only considered when we are playing in spin friendly conditions. England, the place where the world cup is played, is definitely not a place for Upul Tharanga.
- Kusal Janith Perera
Kusal has recently redefined himself as a proper middle order batsman. His experience, his ability to build an innings as well as to hit big sixes makes him an ideal candidate for the middle order. Therefore, we think he is better suited as a middle-order batsman than an opener.
- Niroshan Dickewella
We think Dickwella should be a bit more responsible in his batting. But having said that, in his day, his reckless batting had won matches for us. But recently, it seems he is getting out after scoring around 20 runs than capitalising on his chances. If he can just hold his nerves a little bit, he could be one of the best batsmen for us. But at the moment, his spot as an opener is up for debate.
- Dhanushka Gunathilaka
Out of his 36 matches, he only has one century and eight half centuries. Even though he has shown a tremendous promise, he has not capitalised on the chances he has given. While he is definitely an option for an opener for world cup 2019, he does not have any matches to prove his self before the world cup.
- Avishka Fernando
This 20-year-old has shown that though he doesn’t have the experience most of the others have, he definitely has the skill. Out of the 20 List A matches he has played, he has an average over 50 runs with four centuries and four half centuries. Even in the practice match in South Africa, he has scored a brisk 73 runs. Therefore, we think that he should be given a chance to open the remaining four matches against the Proteus to see if he is suitable for an opener’s position for the world cup. With all the other candidates being left-handers, Avishka will give a left-hand, right-hand combination which is crucial in an ODI inning.
- Dinesh Chandimal
Chandimal is sure to get selected for the 2019 world cup squad, especially with his experience. He is one of our best batsmen in green pitches. 3 out of his 4 his ODI centuries are in seeming tracks, Harare Sports Club in Zimbabwe, Lord’s Cricket Ground in England, The Village in Ireland. The other century was in Dambulla stadium which is also a seam friendly track than a spin friendly one. But if he is selected, where will he bat??? Number three, four and five positions will be occupied by Oshada, Kusal Mendis and Kusal Perera. Mathews will surely take number 6 slot. Where can Chandimal bat. As an opener is the only possible option (if he is in the playing 11). Additionally, his ability to bat long will also give a much-needed stability to the top order.