SL World Cup Squad to be named on April 18;
Kusal Janith declares fit and ready
With the dust settled down on the local big stage performance platform for prospective stakeholders and Sri Lanka’s World Cup countdown reaching a climax with the days closing in on the squad to be announced to the players and a nation in anticipation, the Chairman of Selectors, Asantha de Mel has given notice that it would be named on April 18. The ICC deadline is April 23 for member countries to officially announce the respective squads that would compete in cricket’s greatest of spectacles to be staged in England from May 30 to June 14. Given the tough guessing game of whom the national selectors would pin faith on to form the nucleus in a not so rosy ODI scenario that has bugged Sri Lanka’s one-day cricket in over an year has caused much concern as to getting the ideal mix. While there have been several contenders to man the batting front, the crucial bowling department has remained a grey area with no overly wholesome performances except for a few isolated performances while the fielding department too is an area of concern.
Meanwhile, pinch-hitting batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who has been recuperating from injury following his breathtaking match winning 153 in lifting Sri Lanka from the jaws of defeat against South Africa, has announced that he is fit and ready for world cup duty. The 28-year old left hander whose power hitting flair has drawn comparisons with Master Blaster Sanath Jayasuriya, stated that he was confident of passing a fitness test for world cup selection.
The ace batsman, who changed from a right hander to a left hander in remodeling his batting after Jayasuriya, was unlucky to have missed out on the ODI and T20 series’ against the Proteas in Sri Lanka’s final tour ahead of the world cup. However, his has displayed the inherent ability of rising to the occasion in crunch situations and is considered a trump card in the biff bang game. His most outstanding ODI innings was bludgeoning a 17-ball joint fastest half century against Pakistan in Pallekelle in July 2015 equaling Jayasuriya’s world record. It was in the wake of his maiden ODI century against Bangladesh in Mirpur in 2014 helping Sri Lanka to a3-0 whitewash He has scored 4 ODI centuries with a highest of 135 and 11 half centuries from 88 matches aggregating 2283 runs.
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-