ICC World T20 2016: Sri Lankan cricket team Preview – Struggling defending champions need to rediscover form
The retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene has left a huge hole in the team.
New Delhi: When they defeated India to win the World T20 2014, Lankans were a far more stronger side on paper.
After a poor show in the T20I format lately, the Angelo Mathews-led side take on Afghanistan in their first match of ICC World Twenty20.
The retirements of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene has left a huge hole in the team and it brings the responsibility on the shoulders of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal, the three experienced campaigners in the squad, to do the bulk of the scoring.
Sri Lanka have the advantage of having three bowling all-rounders in Mathews, Nuwan Kulasekara and Thisara Perera which strengthens their batting to a great extent. Compared to other teams, these three players have the reputation of being big-hitters.
While they have a quality spinner in Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake is yet to make an impact at the big stage and a remodelled action has certainly affected his rhythm at the big stage.
Lasith Malinga will spearhead the team's pace attack and after missing international cricket last year due to an injury, it would be foolish of other teams to take the slinger lightly. Lainga is the highest wicket taker in T20Is and he can still do serious damage with his toe-crushing yorkers.
ICC T20I ranking: 4
Coach: Graham Ford
Sri Lanka ICC World Twenty20 2016 squad: Lasith Malinga (c), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardena, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Jeffrey Vandersay.
Players to watch out for: Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thisara Perera, Rangana Herath