ICC CRICKET WORLD CUP 2019
The induction of the 30-year old Dimuth Karunaratne will as the Sri Lanka ODI captain for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 adds an altogether newness in striving to change one-day fortunes for the better. Therein Karunaratne carries a lucky star image on the back of leading his country to a historic 2-nil away Test triumph over South Africa by his astute captaincy. For a player who has forged to the limelight influenced by his performances as a Test player having last represented Sri Lanka at ODI level in the 2015 world cup, it will be of interest how Karunaratne handles the task as Sri Lanka vies for honours at instant cricket’s 12th extravaganza.
It will be a leading from the front dual task for the left hander who has emerged as his country’s Mr.Reliable in test cricket having reeled off some solid performances particularly in 2018. The highlight of it was notching up four centuries. He had a great home season aggregating 356 runs crossing 50 in each of the four innings in 2018 spearheading Sri Lanka’s 2-nil hammering of South Africa in the 2-match home series that was dominated by the bowlers. That his aggregate was three times more than what South Africa’s best performer skipper Faf du Plessis did reflect the Sri Lankan’s feat to good effect. In Karunaratne’s words, “That success was mainly due to working with Hashan (Tillekeratne, former batting coach) as I was able to further sharpen the sweep and reverse sweep which are must-have shots when fielders are close in. Playing the sweep or reverse sweep helps to cause the field spread.” He also said that the marked improvement in his batting had also come about by Head Coach Chandika Hathurusinghe’s advice to bat more aggressive against new ball attacks. Indeed, the new formulas on which Dimuth Karunaratne has reshaped his batting would be significant to the skipper taking strike upfront at the world cup with Sri Lanka playing their first match of the tournament on June 1 against New Zealand at Cardiff.
It is noteworthy that the former Josephian, and SSC product did justify his selection by some compelling knocks in the concluded Super Provincial Limited Over Tournament when he struck scores of 86 not out off 74 balls, 44 and an unbeaten 35.
By Srian Obeyesekere
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-