Sri Lanka 2019 Cricket World Cup squad: Key players, fixtures, prediction, odds and more

Jack Watson

Sri Lanka left out five established players in their World Cup squad and changed their captain, despite their new skipper not playing white ball cricket for over four years.

Batsman Dimuth Karunaratne, the Test captain, replaced legendary bowler Lasith Malinga, who was temporary captain after Angleo Mathews was sacked ahead of the one-day series and T20 against England in October 2018.

Since losing the series 3-1 to England nine months ago, Sri Lanka suffered whitewash defeats in New Zealand (3-0) and South Africa (5-0). What little chance they had of showing they had something to offer the tournament was swept away by the weather in Edinburgh, with only one innings completed over the scheduled two-match series.

Winning the 1996 tournament saw Sri Lanka produce some of the world’s best cricketers, however the current team is far from replicating Aravinda de Silva’s side.

With much change in the squad - openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga, batsman Dinesh Chandimal, wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwells and spinner Akila Dananjaya have all missed out - there is limited hope for a Sri Lanka side who have no players inside the top 30 batters or bowlers.

Fixtures

  • New Zealand, Saturday 1 June, Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
  • Afghanistan, Tuesday 4 June, Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
  • Pakistan, Friday 7 June, Bristol Country Ground, Bristol
  • Bangladesh, Tuesday 11 June, Bristol County Ground, Bristol
  • Australia, Saturday 15 June, The Oval, London
  • England, Friday 21 June, Headingley, Leeds
  • South Africa, Friday 28 June, The Riverside Durham, Chester-le-Street
  • West Indies, Monday 1 July, The Riverside Durham, Chester-le-Street
  • India, Saturday 6 July, Headingley, Leeds

Squad

Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Avishka Fernando, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Kusal Mendis (wk), Kusal Perera (wk), Thisara Perera, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Milinda Siriwardana, Lahiru Thirimanne, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay.

Key Players

Angelo Mathews is one of Sri Lanka’s highest-rated players according to ICC rankings. However, his place in the World Cup squad was not guaranteed.

He claimed that he had been made a “scapegoat” for Sri Lanka’s disastrous Asia Cup campaign in 2018.

Without the burden of being captain and with a point to prove, Matthews managed one run from 10 balls against Scotland, a far cry from the kind of innings he routinely puts together.

Captain

On his captaincy debut, Dimuth Karunaratne made 77 off 88 as Sri Lanka ended their run of eight straight defeats as they beat Scotland by 35 runs via the DLS method.

As well as a test of his leadership, this was a close inspection of Karunaratne’s batting in his first ODI since the 2015 World Cup.

Karunarantne’s “confident” knock helped Sri Lanka set Scotland a respectable target of 322, but it will take much more if he can inspire his side to conjure up an upset this summer.

One to watch

Lasith Malinga may well have had his day having led Sri Lanka to glory in the 2014 World T20 and subsequent short-form finals, but there is still enough left in the 35-year-old’s tank to make a difference in this side.

Sri Lanka rank as outsiders for the tournament (Getty)

In April, he stunned Chennai Super Kings with 4/37 and then won the IPL title for Mumbai Indians a month later with that final over to maintain his status as one of the best death bowlers.

Odds

50/1

Prediction

There are too many squads richer in talent and consistency for Sri Lanka to cause any of the big nations trouble this summer as they make up the numbers.