World Cup discards get comfort tour of India | Sunday Observer

World Cup discards get comfort tour of India

12 May, 2019
Niroshan Dickwella-Dhasun Shanaka-Akila Dhananjaya-Dhanushka Gunathilaka
Niroshan Dickwella-Dhasun Shanaka-Akila Dhananjaya-Dhanushka Gunathilaka

Sri Lankan cricketers who could not find slots in the 15-man squad to the World Cup have been given a pacifying tour of India that some critics call a ‘thank you’ ride with a side called the Sri Lanka A team which will play two four-day games and five one-day matches commencing May 21.

All the discards have been given passages with the exception of Dinesh Chandimal who has not found a place even in the second string team raising more questions that he continues to be victimized or if he is too much for the Sri Lanka A team on what grounds was he knocked out from the World Cup side.

The captain of the team is Ashan Priyanjan who is 29 years old and the most notable discards to make it to the side are Niroshan Dickwella, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Dhasun Shanaka and Akila Dhananjaya.

Dhananjaya, according to head selector Ashantha de Mel, did not know what he was bowling to secure a place in the World Cup squad after correcting his delivery action over a throwing or chucking syndrome.

Another ageing player picked is fast bowler Ishan Jayaratne who will turn 30 next month. Six other players in the tour party are in their late 20s including Gunathilaka who is 28.

With the concept of the ‘A team’ supposed to be a launching pad for futuristic players, not a single schoolboy who shone during the concluded inter-school season has been given an opportunity to showcase himself against overseas opposition.

But Carlton Bernadus, a veteran Sri Lanka Cricket youth coach, said the selection of the discards can only be justified if the selectors were looking at preparing a team for any Test series that is at hand as most of the players selected for the World Cup are limited overs or ODI players.

“There may an isolated case or two, but players who have been sidelined due to poor form can use the tour of India to regain form and prepare for what is next. A tour of India even if it’s the A team is always important.

“India has so much of bench (reserve players) strength and this could be an opportunity (for the discarded Sri Lanka players) to get back into form,” said Bernadus who is now the head coach of the SSC School of Cricket. He dismissed the notion that schoolboys were deprived of an opportunity of playing in India which is considered to be the most challenging ground to showcase cricket.

“I think schoolboys can look at places in the (under-23) Emerging team,” said Bernadus.

Sri Lanka A team for four-day matches and one-dayers:

Ashan Priyanjan (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Sangeeth Cooray, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Embuldeniya (subject to fitness), Chamika Karunaratne, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhasun Shanaka, Lakshan Sandakan, Ishan Jayaratne