Comprehensively beaten 2-nil at home when the two sides last met in 2020, Sri Lanka will indeed face a mountainous task when they face the strong West Indies in their own backyard in the 3-match T20 series commencing on March 6 at Antigua. The West Indies wrapped it up by 7 wickets breezing to 158 for 3 in overhauling Sri Lanka’s 155 for 6 at Pallekelle.
It will be a Sri Lankan side with a difference with the cameo all-rounder 29-year Dasun Shanaka wearing the captaincy mantle in a mix of the old cast and some promising young talent. Of the old cast are Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Danushka Gunathilake, Dinesh Chandimal, wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella of batting repute, and speedsters Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal are there, the latter a last minute call up following Lahiru Kumara’s withdrawing afflicted by the COVID-19 virus. Of the newer cast are Wanindu Hasaranga, Oshada Fernando while the drafting of youth players Ashen Bandara, Ramesh Mendis and Pathum Nissanka and Dilshan Madushanka makes up quite an assortment to draw from.
While on paper the Lankan camp has an abundance of player potential to toy with when it comes to the final selections, that it will be a power packed West Indian outfit to counter in the final countdown will be the acid test Dasun Shanaka’s charges will face if Sri Lanka is to avenge last times defeat. Given the tough scenario, it will require some spectacular cricket from the Lankans if they are to conquer the Calypsos in the lion’s den. While the focus of course, will be very much on Shanaka’s all-round ability, of the lot the recent form of opening batsman Dhanushka Gunathilaka who made a tremendous impact in the Lanka Premier League and as much Thisara Perera will certainly evoke great expectations among home fans to reproduce that brilliance to tilt the scales.
SRI LANKA SQUAD:
Dasun Shanaka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Danushka Gunathilake, Dinesh Chandimal, Anjelo Mathews, Oshada Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Ramesh Mendis, Ashen Bandara, Akila Dhananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka.
WEST INDIES SQUAD:
Carlos Brathwaite, Capt., Fabian Allen, Darren Bravo, Shimron Hetmyer, Evin Lewis, Obed McCoy, Ashley Nurse, Keemo Paul, Kjary Pierre, Jieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, Royman Powell,Dinesh Ramdin,Andre Russel, Sherfane Rutherford.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-