Sri Lanka Cricket chairman of selectors Sanath Jayasuriya has revealed that the upcoming ODI series against India will be an opportunity for the team to give their fringe players some game time.
A five-match series was arranged between the two countries after the West Indies pulled out of their tour of India over a pay debate between their players and board.
Sri Lanka will travel to India in November, and Jayasuriya will look to offer more players the chance to showcase their abilities in the early phases of preparation for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Sri Lanka have seemingly come to the rescue of the BCCI after the Windies forewent a
three-match Test series and a one-off T20 International. However, not all Sri Lankan players are apparently happy with the short notice of the upcoming matches.
Veteran wicketkeeper Kumar Sangakkara tweeted: ‘Our 6 weeks of pure fitness work ends abruptly. Have a week to do a months requirement of skill work before India. Planning ahead anyone?’
Nevertheless, it seems as though the current World T20 champions will use the coming fixtures as an opportunity to offer playing time to cricketers on the fringes of the national
Jayasuriya says that playing against a team of high quality of the perfect chance for an outsider to force his way into the starting XI, ahead of next year’s tournament.
The former Sri Lanka opener is quoted by ESPN Cricinfo as saying: "This is an ideal opportunity for some of the bowlers who have been around to grab their chance by performing against a top team like India.
"These players have been in the system for some time and thrown into the deep end we can see how they cope with the pressures."
With the seam bowling trinity of Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera all currently injured, it will be good to give more bowlers some international experience in case they are thrust onto the global stage at next year’s World Cup.
Malinga recently had ankle surgery and the fast bowler is currently undergoing a rehabilitation programe that will hopefully ensure he is fit for the tournament.
Batsmen Lahiru Thirimanne, Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshan Dickwella are also expected to make the jump to first XI international cricket after impressing for Sri Lanka A.
World Cup preparation
Sri Lanka have a seven-match ODI series with England to play, which also begins in November as well as another seven 50-over games against New Zealand before the 2015 World Cup commences next February.
With plenty of cricket to be played before the tournament gets underway, the Sri Lankans will have lots of opportunities to tweak their line-up and discover their best side before next spring.
They have been drawn in Pool A alongside England, Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Scotland. Their opening fixture is against the Kiwis, just a couple of weeks after the culmination of their seven-match ODI series against the same opponents.