Lasith Malinga - Is Sri Lanka skipper a trump card or spent force?
The major focus in the Lankan camp ahead of the Asia Cup will be on skipper and pacer spearhead Malinga.
New Delhi: After a shock win in the 1st T20I, the young Sri Lankan side was easily brushed aside by MS Dhoni's men in the recently concluded three-match series.
While there were plenty of positives in the series for the islanders, one thing they clearly lacked was big-match experience.
However, that box has now been ticked with the return of veteran stars Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara.
The major focus in the Lankan camp ahead of the Asia Cup 2016 will be on skipper and pacer spearhead Malinga.
Returning from a knee injury, the 32-year-old will be heavily relied upon by his side to produce breakthroughs early in the innings and stem the flow of runs towards the end.
While there are no doubts about his wicket-taking ability, the pacer has of late leaked a lot of runs in the 20-over format.
Malinga was impressive against the Windies in the November series, with spells of 2 for 16 and 2 for 19 in the 1st and 2nd T20I respectively.
However against Pakistan in the July-August series, the right-armer came under severe punishment from the batsmen, resulting in figures of 1 for 46 and 1 for 40.
Malinga is no longer the decisive factor in India-SL matches, but he does have a good record in Bangladesh.
In his last 8 T20Is in the host nation of the Asia Cup 2016, Malinga has got 9 wickets without conceding too many runs.
While the focus of most teams will be on the ICC World Cup, the Asia Cup will be a good platform to judge Malinga's impact.
Whether one of world cricket's greatest death overs' operator can still deliver despite injury troubles and lack of playing time will be fascinating to see.
But from a neutral standpoint, it is imperative that Malinga continues to bowl his toe-crushing yorkers and slower bouncers with great success to give an edge to not just his side but the tournament in general.