The Vice President of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), Ravin Wickramaratne, who chaired the press briefing in connection with the Sri Lanka A Team’s tour of India last Friday at the SLC auditorium, observed that it was one of the best A teams Sri Lanka was sending to India. “Basically the Sri Lanka A team squad comprises of basically very strong talent from the domestic structure and a few Sri Lanka players too have been chosen to match the Indians as well as some youngsters who have done extremely well,” he said.
The head table also comprised of SLC’s Chief Operations Officer Jerome Jayaratne, Head Coach Roy Dias, Manager Chaminda Mendis and Skipper Ashan Priyanjan.
Wickramaratne went on to stress that particularly the younger players needed the necessary exposure to be in the limelight and make their mark for national selection.
The Sri Lanka A team will play two four-day matches and five one-day matches against India with the tour commencing on May 21, 2019.
Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka A Team Skipper, Ashan Priyanjan, who will be in charge of both the four-day team and one-day team, said, “This is a great opportunity for all of us. It is a challenging tour for which we have prepared very well, and hopefully we will be on top of them when the tour ends.”
Head Coach, Roy Dias said, “We will try to give an opportunity to everyone. There are some new promising players such as Sangeeth Cooray and Kamndu Mendis who need this type of exposure to make an impact, and I’m confident that such players on the blocks will make use of this opportunity to come good on the tour of India. Kamindu Mendis is the batting all-rounder on tour and he is the future for us. ”
As to Akila Dananjaya, the Head Coach observed that the off spinner was bowling well at the moment and the national spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunga was accompanying the squads in order to work with Dananjaya and nurse him back to top fettle that made him Sri Lanka’s No.1 spinner not so long ago. “In fact Piyal Wijetunga is batting quite well at the moment and he is our bowling all-rounder.”
Roy Dias went on to announce that Lasith Embuldeniya, who was in the original squad, had not fully recovered from injury and had been replaced by Malinda Pushpakumara. Dushmantha Chameera too had dropped out due to injury. Dinesh Chandimal had opted out on the grounds that he wanted to play county cricket in England.
Meanwhile, SLC Vice President, Ravin Wickramaratne emphasised that Sri Lanka Cricket was prioritising to get more and more youngsters on the blocks with the future in mind. One line of thinking was to restart the academy shortly focusing on spin and fast bowling. As to the fitness of players, while noting that SLC had set in place the best of training facilities, he stressed the need for players also to ensure their fitness levels at peak level. As to player injury factors, he said, “Injury problems to players is something all cricket playing countries face. It is not an area that can be fully controlled.
SRI LANKA A TEAM FOUR-DAY SQUAD:
Ashan Priyanjan (Capt.), Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Sangeeth Cooray, Bhanuka Rajapaksa,
Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Chamika Karunaratne, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Malinda Pushpakumara.
SRI LANKA A TEAM ONE-DAY SQUAD:
Ashan Priyanjan (Capt.), Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka,
Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrema, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Ishan Jayaratne, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Kumara.
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-