The Next Generation Of Sri Lankan Players

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Photo Credit: [LAKRUWAN WANNIARACHCHI]/Getty Images

Sri Lanka had a rather disappointing Champions Trophy campaign as they failed to qualify from Group B, only managing one win. Admittedly, they were unlucky in some respects, Angelo Matthews missed their first match through injury and Upul Tharanga was later banned for a slow over rate. However, one notable feature of their squad was the fact that it was an old side. The average age of their squad was roughly 29, which when compared to England’s average of 27 seems very high. Therefore, the Sri Lankan selectors decided to pick several young players for their home ODI series against Zimbabwe. One young talent, Wanindu Hasaranga, has already made his mark on the world stage as he took a hat-trick on debut. Along with the 19 year old Hasaranga, Sri Lanka included the inexperienced Akila Dananjaya and Amilia Aponso. These three players could well be the foundation for the next generation of Sri Lankan players.

Wanindu Hasaranga

Before his inclusion in the Sri Lankan squad, Hasaranga had only played eight List A matches. The leg spinner has had a phenomenal start to his domestic cricket career, as he has already taken 15 wickets in those games, with an economy of under four. While those statistics are simply exceptional, it was still a huge risk in including him in the international squad, but he justified their faith emphatically. He made his debut in the Second ODI at Galle and came on to bowl late in the innings. Hasaranga claimed a hat-trick as he dismissed Zimbabwe’s last three batsmen to bowl out Zimbabwe for just 155. The leg spinner finished with figures of 2.4-0-15-3 and made history as he became the third bowler to take a hat-trick on debut. He was also effective in the third ODI, in which he picked up two wickets in his seven over spell. However, it must be said that he was slightly more wayward in his bowling, as he conceded over 40 runs and was hit for four boundaries. Hasranaga’s main threat is his numerous variations and his ability to deceive the batsmen through his natural flight. In a game where leg spinners are becoming the most successful bowlers, it is definitely worth remembering this name.

He was also effective in the third ODI, in which he picked up two wickets in his seven over spell. However, it must be said that he was slightly more wayward in his bowling, as he conceded over 40 runs and was hit for four boundaries. Hasranaga’s main threat is his numerous variations and his ability to deceive the batsmen through his natural flight. In a game where leg spinners are becoming the most successful bowlers, it is definitely worth remembering this name.

Akila Dananjaya

All-rounder Akila Dananjaya played for Sri Lanka’s ODI side before he had actually played any domestic fifty over cricket. Moreover, the young star was included in Sri Lanka’s initial 2012 World T20 squad before he had actually played any professional cricket. This is a true testament to the mysterious nature of Dananjaya. From this frantic start, Dananjaya’s international career has slowed down substantially. He has had to wait five years to play a second ODI after making his debut in 2012. Dananjaya was picked for the first ODI against Zimbabwe but failed to impress. The off-spinning all-rounder didn’t get a chance to bat, and his ten overs went for a costly 61 runs, picking up just one wicket.

After that performance, it was easy to see why he was dropped for the second ODI. However, Dananjaya has been very unlucky not have been given a chance earlier than this. The start to his T20I career was incredible, as he has picked up seven wickets in the five matches he has played. What is more impressive, though, is his economy rate of under seven showing his control and accuracy. One can be sure that he will recover from this slump in form and his recall to the Sri Lankan side is the much needed boost his career needed.

Amilla Aponso

Sri Lanka also included another young spinner in their squad, in the form of left-armer Amilia Aponso. After establishing himself as a consistent player on the Sri Lankan domestic circuit, Aponso made his ODI debut in a home ODI series against a strong Australian side. However, he relished the challenged and put in an incredible performance in the second ODI as he ended with figures of 9.2-0-18-4. When he followed that performance up with another good spell in the third ODI, in which he took two wickets and was economical, it appeared that Sri Lanka had found their latest frontline spinner. Yet, he has been unable to display any of that same form recently and has struggled to find any consistency. Aponso has only played in the first ODI against Zimbabwe so far and was hit for just under 80. As with Dananjaya, Aponso has not been playing to his potential recently but will no doubt improve exponentially as he gains more experience.

Yet, he has been unable to display any of that same form recently and has struggled to find any consistency. Aponso has only played in the first ODI against Zimbabwe so far and was hit for just under 80. As with Dananjaya, Aponso has not been playing to his potential recently but will no doubt improve exponentially as he gains more experience.

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