The Weekend Leader - Skipper Shanaka backs inexperienced Sri Lanka to go 'long way' in T20 WC

Skipper Shanaka backs inexperienced Sri Lanka to go 'long way' in T20 WC

Abu Dhabi



Sri Lanka captain Dasun Shanaka has backed his team to go a 'long way' in the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup, saying that his side has depth and variety, which could help them potentially to do well, even if they lack experience.

Sri Lanka begin their campaign on October 18 against Namibia in Abu Dhabi in Group A of the first round, where they have also drawn Ireland and the Netherlands.

Drawing parallels to the vintage side that won the 2014 tournament, the Sri Lanka captain feels that his current side has the same potential.

"If you recall, that squad had a lot of variety and depth. And with the youngsters we have coming through now I feel they have the same potential, but the only thing lacking is the experience," Dasun Shanaka was quoted as saying by Espncricinfo.

"If our guys perform to their strengths, I feel they can go a long way in this tournament. Our fans in Sri Lanka have been waiting a long time for us to be successful, and I hope we can make them proud," he added.

In the last few years, Sri Lanka's white-ball batting has revolved around the likes of Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella and Kusal Mendis. But, following the trio's ban for breaching curfew and bio-bubble protocols, Sri Lankan think-tank has tried several options in the middle order, which has given them very little success.

However, following a training camp last month which consisted of several intra-squad matches, Sri Lanka seem to have stumbled on something resembling balance. Avishka Fernando has been good at No 4 while Chamika Karunaratne and Shanaka have shown promise in their roles as finishers lower down the order.

"We were not able to perform up to the mark in the last few years, but still the strength of our squad is very good. We've got two guys coming from the IPL (Dushmantha Chameera and Wanindu Hasaranga), Kusal Janith (Perera) at the top of the order and Avishka Fernando, who is going well, coming in at No 4,'' said the Lanka captain.

"We are settled with our batting line-up. We've recently changed our line-up a bit - I think we've struck a good balance," he added.

Mahela Jayawardene, who has proven himself as one of the most tactically astute minds in world cricket during his stint with Mumbai Indians in the IPL, recently took up a role as consultant coach of Sri Lanka.

According to Shanaka, Mahela being in his corner is proving invaluable.
"He's been amazing over the years, and tactically he's brilliant. As a captain, he's been giving me a lot of support in the field. For me, tactically he's the best in the business. He's been a real help to all of us," he said - IANS

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