Sri Lanka seek wicket-keeper for India series

Published July 18, 2021
What critics have called an India ‘B’ side remains formidable after the troubles that Sri Lanka have gone through in recent months. — Reuters/File
What critics have called an India ‘B’ side remains formidable after the troubles that Sri Lanka have gone through in recent months. — Reuters/File

COLOMBO: Twenty-four hours before Sri Lanka start their One-day International series against India on Sunday, the beleaguered home side still did not know who their wicket-keeper would be, new captain Dasun Shanaka said.

With a multitude of disciplinary, injury and coronavirus (Covid-19) problems, Shanaka was also putting on a brave face over throwing five players with no international experience into the squad of 23.

Shanaka took over as team leader for the three one-dayers and three Twenty20 Internationals after captain and wicket-keeper Kusal Perera was ruled out of the tournament through injury.

Shanaka admitted that the replacement wicket-keeper remained uncertain.

“We will be able to decide on a wicket-keeper only after practices today,” said the 29-year-old on Saturday.

Minod Bhanuka, 26, and 27-year-old Lahiru Udara are the leading candidates.

Shanaka said the large number of new players could be to Sri Lanka’s advantage as India — also weakened with their main stars preparing for their Test series in England — were unproven.

But what critics have called an India ‘B’ side remains formidable after the troubles that Sri Lanka have gone through in recent months.

Three senior Sri Lankan players, including vice captain Kusal Mendis, were suspended during last month’s tour of England after they violated a bio-secure bubble.

Perera and bowler Binura Fernando were on Friday ruled out of the ODIs due to injuries.

Batting coach Grant Flower tested positive for Covid-19, dealing another blow to a side that has lost five straight series.

“We are facing India without some senior players as well as our batting coach,” Shanaka told reporters. “But we will try to overcome these challenges. We may not be able to control who wins, but we can assure a good game.”

Published in Dawn, July 18th, 2021

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