The 24-man Sri Lanka squad left the Island last night for UK, to participate in the limited over series against England, comprising of 3 T20Is and 3 ODIs.
With the selectors looking for Young blood targeting the 2023 World Cup, the squad has many uncapped players, including the last moment inclusion Praveen Jayawickrama.
With English conditions considered to be challenging and proved the same over the years, the Squad has 10 players who have past experience playing in England, with an overall match experience ( All formats ) of 101 matches.
Even though the squad consists of many (14) who have no previous experience in English conditions, Three of the most experience players in the squad, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis and Nuwan Pradeep have very good exposure in English conditions with 23, 19 and 17 overall match experience in England.
Who are the Key Players ?
Kusal Perera and Kusal Mendis
Both the Kusals have a considerable experience in England. Being the most senior pair, in terms of experience in both England and overall, a lot will be expected from the duo in England for Sri Lanka to succeed. Captain Kusal Perera showed some form with his century against Bangladesh in the final ODI. It showed how critical his contribution was as the entire team had to bat around him to post a challenging total.
Kusal Mendis however again failed in Bangladesh, missed a golden opportunity to regain some form and redeem himself. Appointed as the vice captain of the team, Mendis now has the added responsibility and also the faith of the selectors. It is high time that this highly spoken of and extremely talented cricketer delivers. Kusal also has 4 fifties in England, the highest among all batsmen in the squad.
Missed out on last two tours due to fitness concerns, Avishka has come back strong this time passing the Fitness Tests conduced by the SLC. Out of all batsmen in the current squad, he is only player to have scored a century in England. In his last outing in the UK during the 2019 ICC World Cup, Avishka amassed 277 runs at an average of 55.4, including this highly regarded century against the West Indies.
Chameera has played only the solitary Test Match in England. His performance in the recently concluded Bangladesh tour however, will give lot of heart to Sri Lanka. His pace and ability to swing the ball will be very handy in English conditions. Chameera will be expected to lead the young SL pace attack in England.
Hasaranga has slowly become Sri Lanka’s most potent limited overs spinner. Add his lower order batting abilities to that, he becomes a extremely key player for Sri Lanka. He is probably the one Sri Lanka are looking for, as the attacking option in the spin department and the same in the lower order batting, to provide much needed impetus and finishing touches to the score.
34-year old Nuwan Pradeep may not sound like a key player, as he failed to even get picked for the last series Sri Lanka played. However, his experience in English conditions can turn out to be a key factor. It will be surprising to note that Pradeep is the 3rd most successful Sri Lankan bowler in England, claiming 32 wickets in all formats – only behind legends Muralidaran and Malinga. He also has a 17 match experience in England, which is the most number of matches for players in the current squad, after the captain and the vice captain.