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Dimuth Karunaratne’s selection as Sri Lanka captain for the World Cup is a baffling one

Dimuth Karunaratne’s selection as Sri Lanka captain for the World Cup is a baffling one

Bengaluru, April 18: They are ranked eighth in world cricket and of the teams that are playing in this year's World Cup, even Bangladesh are above them.

Sri Lanka were a sensation of the cricketing world in the mid-1990s and went on to lift their first and only title in 1996. But today, the island-nation looks a battered lot and perhaps the least inspiring side from Asia to take part in the 12th edition of the cricket World Cup.

They have had a series of losses in the recent past, even at home where once they were considered too powerful and as the streak of mediocrity went on extending, Lanka seemed to get all the more lost in the conundrum of confusion and dismay.

That the islanders are indeed confused about their impending duty ahead of the World Cup became evident when they picked a player who played his last ODI in the last World Cup four years ago, as their captain. It was said that Sri Lanka went for Dimuth Karunaratne as their captain for the upcoming WC because he led the team recently to a historic victory over South Africa in an away series.

Since Karunaratne was successful as a captain in the longer format, hence try him in another entirely different format to replicate the same. There is very little logic in that direction of thinking, one must say.

Changing captain and players ahead of WC: How much will it help?

One of the major reasons why Sri Lanka settled for Karunaratne as the captain even though the veteran Lasith Malinga was leading the side in the limited-over formats, albeit abysmally, is that the pacer doesn't have a good relation with a lot of players and that was considered to have a deep impact on the team spirit.

Karunaratne's good performance in a recent domestic tournament in Sri Lanka hence encouraged the selectors to go for him all the more. The fact that the selectors announced the captain a day before unveiling the list of players gives an indication that they wanted to settle the ugly puzzle before going for the entire squad.

In the squad too, Sri Lanka left out known faces like Thisara Perera, Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga and Akila Dhananjaya. The selectors were not happy with the form of some of these players and picked some considering their shows in the domestic tournament in which Karunaratne did well. But the question is whether Lanka did it wisely to drop the players who have been representing the national side for most part of the last four years and pick their replacements just ahead of the big tournament.

Winning is a habit that Sri Lanka haven't had over the past years. Since the 2015 WC ended, they have won only 23 games while losing 55 and haven't won a single bilateral series since May 2016. They have been among the worst sides in terms of winning percentage. How much will the change of the captain and picking fresh players just ahead of the WC help?

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Story first published: Thursday, April 18, 2019, 20:28 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 18, 2019
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