ICC T20 World Cup 2012: Team Profile- Sri Lanka
They are the hosts and they have the highest winning percentage in ICC T20 World Cups. They are the 2009 runners-up and have tasted only six defeats out of their 18 World Cup matches.
Sri Lanka have always been a dark horse in the shorter formats of the game and they have an array of ‘horses for courses’ players for each format of the game. Fresh from their own Sri Lankan Premier League, the Islanders have unearthed some good talents and more importantly all the members of the squad are in that T20 mode, but again, will they be exhausted, tired or will their form be the same?
Strength: Home conditions will be Sri Lanka’s biggest strength in this World Cup apart from the their T20 league, SLPL’s experience. The SLPL would have acted as the perfect practice tournament for the 2012 ICC World Cup. Lasith Malinga once again will be the key man for Sri Lanka. Though he has not enjoyed much success recently, it is still difficult to get the ‘slinga’ away for runs, particularly in the death overs. With a T20I bowling average of 20.45 Malinga is a massive threat for the opponents.
Also, the all-rounder duo of Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera are probably the best in the business and would provide a lot of stability to the Sri Lankan line-up. Angelo Mathews has been in good form with the bat finishing the SLPL as the second highest run-getter. To rule out of the superstar Tillekeratne Dilshan would be an absolute crime as his pyrotechnics at the top of the order and gazelle like reflexes on the field could make a massive difference.
Weakness: With all the host teams, one major weakness for their side would be to the ‘added’ pressure to perform at home. Many relish pressure but many crumble under it as well. They have been there and there about on recent occasions (2007 World Cup, 2009 T20 World Cup and 2011 World Cup). Also, over dependence on Malinga and Angelo Mathews has been the Achilles heel for the Sri Lankans. The middle order of Kumar Sangakkara and Lahiru Thirummanne has struggled a bit lately.
Opportunity: With players like Dilshan Munaweera and Akila Dananjaya drafted into the team owing to their SLPL performances, the others teams would have to be vary of them and that presents the rookies with an opportunity to shine. Also the opportunity lies in the fact that the captain Mahela Jayawerdene knows the pitches well and will use his resources rather cleverly.
Threat: In the group stages they would be up against South Africa and because the tournament is played in the subcontinent conditions former champions India and Pakistan and even Bangladesh would pose a big challenge to the Sri Lankan’s campaign in the tournament.
Newbies: Dilshan Munaweera , Akila Dananjaya
Players to watch out for: Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis
Squad: Mahela Jayawardena (captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Akila Dananjaya, Shaminda Eranga, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Ajantha Mendis, Jeewan Mendis, Dilshan Munaweera, Thisara Perera, Kumar Sangakkara, Lahiru Thirimanna.