Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath and Nuwan Kulasekara have returned to the Sri Lanka squad for the Asia Cup T20 2016. This will give the Lankan Lions a major boost ahead of the World T20. These four veterans were not risked during the tour of India due to injuries. Now, they have recovered and are raring to go.
Sri Lanka have a good mix of experience and youth in the squad. They also have the potential to lift the Asia Cup 2016 trophy.
Recently, they were outplayed by India in the three-match T20 series, and the absence of the likes of Malinga, Mathews and Herath was clearly felt.
Tillakaratne Dilshan and Niroshan Dickwella's form at the top of the batting order, will be a cause of concern as well for captain Malinga. These two had an awful outing in India with the bat.
Their middle-order looks solid though. Dinesh Chandimal, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka will look to light things up during the Asia Cup T20 2016. All the batsmen can send the white ball into the orbit, and they do not take much time to break the shackles.
With Malinga's return to the Sri Lankan T20 squad, the bowling attack will be a lot more stable than it was in India. Dushmantha Chameera, who was the pick of the bowlers for Sri Lanka in the India tour, will look for similar performances during the Asia Cup T20 2016 as well.
Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake and Jeffrey Vandersay will take care of the spin department. Senanayake did not have a great India series, as he was a touch too expensive. However, despite that, Vandersay might have to wait for his chance to make it to the playing XI.
The presence of hard-hitting all-rounders like Dasun Shanaka and Thisara Perera in the Sri Lankan side makes them dangerous. Although, they might look like a decent side on paper, on the field they might just be a step behind the other sides like India and Pakistan.
Sri Lanka, though, have fond memories of Bangladesh. They won the Asia Cup as well as the ICC World T20 in 2014. But, they achieved that feat in the presence of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. This time they will have neither. They will want their big guns like Dilshan, Malinga, Herath, Mathews, Perera and Chandimal to fire on this stage. Because there is no room for slip ups as the ICC World T20 2016 is on the horizon.
It will be a tough task to defend their Asia Cup T20 title this time as India and Pakistan are the two favourites to reach the final of the tournament.
Sri Lanka squad for Asia Cup T20 2016: Lasith Malinga (C), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Niroshan Dickwella, Shehan Jayasuriya, Milinda Siriwardana, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dushmantha Chameera, Thisara Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Rangana Herath, Jeffrey Vandersay.