ICC World Cup 2019
The selection of Suranga Lakmal, who had emerged as Sri Lanka’s most consistent new ball strike bowler in the last two years at a juncture the pace bowling department was hit by injuries to frontline fast bowlers, to the world cup squad is significant.
The 32-year old down South product from Matara representing Tamil Union, has indeed put in some compelling heart and soul performances in winning the faith of the national selectors that he is prime time stuff upfront in the ODI version of cricket as well. With a career record of 81 ODI matches and 105 wickets averaging 31.62, the right arm fast medium Lakmal last represented Sri Lanka in an ODI in September 2015 against Bangladesh in Dubai, and his reemergence to the fold for the showpiece event could well be the stage for Lakmal to rise to the occasion.
At test level, deputizing for the injured Dinesh Chandimal, he proved to be a decisive factor in Sri Lanka beating the West Indies at Barbados. It was the first time West Indies had been beaten in a Test at Barbados. He went on to captain the side in the 2-nil home series win against South Africa as well as shining with the ball in Sri Lanka’s historic 2-nil thrashing of the Proteas in their own backyard recently. He has career best ODI figures of 4 for 23, and in Test cricket 5 for 54 in dismissing New Zealand for 178 in 50 overs at the Hagley Oval in the tail end of December 2018. These successes have pivoted Lakmal to recognition as a proven performer under any conditions.
As Lakmal says, “I’m so proud that I have been able to deliver with the ball for my country when the occasion demanded as well as to lead the team to three successive wins. He credits fast bowling coaches Rumesh Ratnyake, Chaminda Vaas in fine tuning him, and Head Coach, Chandika Hathurusinghe for his expert advice.
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-