Sri Lanka National Cricket Team Players – Former Sri Lankan international Russell Arnold gives his expert eye on the squad he believes will be able to beat the T20 World Cup winners on home soil in this series.

A new-look Sri Lanka take on Australia in the Dettol T20I series, starting on Friday night and, with just eight months to go before their T20 World Cup opener, the Lions will be looking to make an early showing.

Sri Lanka National Cricket Team Players

Sri Lanka National Cricket Team Players

The Sri Lankan selectors have put their faith in the youngsters, leaving out the talented internationals Kusal Perera, Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva.

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And former Sri Lankan all-rounder Russell Arnold sees the five-match T20 series as a perfect preparation for an inexperienced side.

“It’s a great opportunity for them,” Arnold said. “They are all players who have not played in an outdoor environment, they are all trying to make a name for themselves.

Arnold, who will be in the Fox commentary box with Kayo, has identified a number of key players who look set to be in the big leagues.

Wanindu Hasaranga entered the T20 World Cup last year as the number one player in the ICC rankings, and he lived up to the title.

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He finished the tournament with 16 wickets, more than any other player, and took them at an average of 9.75 and an economy rate of just 5.20.

But as Arnold points out, the series will be a new challenge for the 24-year-old, who has only played two internationals for Australia.

“It will be a new experience for him, to come here and play in this environment,” Arnold said.

Sri Lanka National Cricket Team Players

“He doesn’t need much off the field, he’s a wicket-to-wicket bowler and he bats badly. And that’s the kind of delivery that a lot of people struggle to pick up.”

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While Hasaranga’s performance in the T20 World Cup and his rise through the ranks may have been unexpected by all but the most keen Sri Lankan observers, Arnold was not surprised.

“He has always been successful. He lives up to the expectations or beliefs he has created about himself. He has a positive attitude, and unlike many Sri Lankans, he is not afraid.

“He’s the type of street fighter who’s always looking to get things done and he’s going to compete, that’s the kind of quality that pushes him further and further.

In the tournament with just three T20Is to his name, the left-hander amassed 231 runs and finished as the fifth highest run-scorer.

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The 24-year-old played all three ways for Sri Lanka in 2021 and has a long future in the national side, according to Arnold.

“He’s just a good player. He’s not sloppy. He plays good shots, he scores, he runs with good balls,” Arnold said.

“A lot of players these days come out and swing hard with heavy bats, but this guy will play ing shots. And that’s why he’s so exciting for us. And why we’re watching him in all three formats.”

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On the back of his success in 2021, Asalanka was promoted to vice-captain for the tour, a move Arnold feels is the right one.

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“He was Sri Lanka’s under-19 captain, and that’s the type of player and person he is,” he added.

“Look at our team, look at all the players we have, we have to look at the future.

“Having him there or taking care of him is the way forward, rather than going back to the tried and tested customers who have been continuing to have him.

Maheesh Theekshana is another from the Sri Lankan squad whose international career is just getting started, having played ODI and T20 international matches in September.

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The 21-year-old Theekshana, dubbed the ‘mystery spinner’, had a lot of success in the early stages of the T20 World Cup before his wickets dried up in the latter stages.

“But they (Sri Lanka) will look at every opportunity to play him, he is playing a new ball and with Hasaranga, they work well together.

“He’s not a good turner, but he gets the ball flying and it’s hard to pick up.

Sri Lanka National Cricket Team Players

“He is also 21 years old, so he is also very fresh. In the T20 World Cup he was good. But as the tournament went on, he did not get the wickets that he usually gets.

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Right-handed batsman Avishka Fernando made his debut in the ODI World Cup 2019, impressing with his strike and century against West Indies.

However, the 23-year-old has struggled to perform consistently since, especially in T20Is, where his batting average is 12.50 from 30 matches.

But Arnold believes there is much to like about Fernando, who will take on more responsibility in the order in the absence of Kusal Perera.

“I would like to see Avishka Fernando take control now that he is at the top of the order,” Arnold said.

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“If he goes, it means there are no problems with the run rate. And with so many youngsters around, that could be important to allow them to settle down.”

In Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara, the Lankans have two bowlers capable of pushing the pace gun past 140 cp.

“But recently, in the last couple of years, he’s been fitter and stronger, not only has his pace improved, but he’s got the variation that he’s bringing out in the tougher times.

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However, with their pace, using the duo in tandem has proved costly for Sri Lanka in the past.

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Kumara played one T20I on Sri Lanka’s last tour here in 2019 and conceded 49 runs from his four overs.

“They would like to use Dushmantha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara together. And they tried that in the T20 World Cup. But good players, if you are predictable, they will attack you.”

“So if Kumara has been able to improve, he will definitely be there, along with Chameera to try and melt down the Australian batsman.

“You’d like to think it’s Hasaranga, Kumara, Chameera, Theekshana; they’re all going to be goalscorers so it’s an attacking line.”

T20 World Cup Sri Lanka Squad 2022

Australia squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head*, Moises Henriques, Josh Inglis, Ben McDermott, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Daniel Sams, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, Adam Zampa * Absent for the first three matches

Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushman Fernando, Kumshara Maheesh Theekshana , Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando Sri Lanka celebrated live as it won the Asia Cup tournament for the sixth time in the short form of cricket in Dubai.

Captain Dasun Shanaka called Sunday’s Asia Cup win a “real game changer” for Sri Lankan cricket ahead of the T20 World Cup, and dedicated the win to the crisis-hit nation.

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Sri Lanka beat Pakistan by 23 runs in the final with Bhanuka Rajapaksa hitting an unbeaten 71 and Wanindu Hasaranga playing ball and ball.

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Firecrackers burst, cars honked and fans danced at the Galle Face Stadium in the capital, where the tournament was shown live on big screens.

“This is a big surprise,” Mohamed Thimal, 24, who watched the game at Galle Face, told AFP news agency. “We didn’t expect a win because we haven’t won a tournament recently.”

“So happy, so happy,” shouted Jameel Irshad, who was celebrating with friends at Galle Face, which until July was part of the inauguration of President Gatabaya Rajapaksa due to economic mismanagement, when the island faced its worst crisis economic in several decades.

The country is facing high inflation, long-term power outages and is facing a severe shortage of food, fuel and medicines after not having enough foreign currency to pay for imported goods since the end of last year.

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“Congratulations to the Sri Lankan cricket team for winning the Asia Cup 2022. Well done Pakistan! Second championship today. It shows that with dedication and determination we can overcome challenges as a nation. Keep up the good work Sri Lanka! Twitter.

Congratulations to the Sri Lankan cricket team for winning the Asia Cup 2022. Well done Pakistan! The second tournament for today. It shows that with commitment and determination we can overcome challenges as a nation. Continue to top Sri Lanka! — Ranil Wickremesinghe (@RW_UNP) September 11, 2022

Government official Prathana Weerasinghe noted that Sunday’s cricket victory came hours after Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup in women’s netball at a tournament in Singapore.

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“A very proud day! The girls did earlier today and now the boys. Wow, what else? Happiest day in years,” Weerasinghe told AFP.

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Hemalatha Tillakaratne, 72, said she fears the government may raise prices as the country is enjoying a rare sporting victory.

“Today they didn’t use the average power because of the match, but they will start breaking again from tomorrow. They can also use the win to increase the price from tomorrow,” Tillakaratne told AFP.

Another fan, Krishani Athauda, ​​42, said the victory was all the sweeter because of the $200,000 in prize money when Sri Lanka competed.