Best Twenty Man Squad for WC2019 Including Wanidu Hasaranga
Posted on April 15th, 2019

Dilrook Kannangara

Team Sri Lanka should play the following squad for the WC2019 to achieve best outcomes.

Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Sandun Weerakkody, Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Dasun Shanaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Thisara Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Asela Gunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Ashan Priyanjan, Shehan Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Isuru Udana, Shaminda Eranga and Wanindu Hasaranga.

This is based on batting efficacy (strike rate times average) and bowling effectiveness (economy rate times wicket taking average).

Wanindu Hasaranga is an exception. Although his performance does not warrant a place for him in the squad, his exceptional ability to give the ball a good spin is considered given dead pitches for spinners where World Cup matches are played. Other interesting selections include Shehan Madushanka who is an interesting fast bowler. Isuru Udana has not played enough matches. However, he has displayed a fighting spirit not found in many Sri Lankan players. He is also a moderate all rounder.

Sandun Weerakkody is a wicket keeper batsman who can be accommodated at a different fielding position given his good and fast batting. His batting is better than Dinesh Chandimal.

Lahiru and Jeffrey cannot make it to the team given their poor performance overall. However, if some of the players listed above are not going to be available, they can make it to the squad. Dilruwan Perera who is a Test player may be included in the squad in place of Amila Aponsu.

The format this year requires the team to make it to the top four to get ahead. There is no quarter final. That is a daunting task for Team Sri Lanka which currently ranks at the eighth position (may slip to the ninth position). There is no point playing slow batters as the Team is going to lose matches anyway if fast scoring batters fail. Net Run Rate cannot bring us within the top four. Only match winnings can bring us to the top four. Therefore, no harm in losing some matches badly as long as we win other matches. However, over the years, Cricket Sri Lanka failed to unearth many fast scoring batsmen. Focus was on the batting average and most finds are unsuitable for the ODI format. Unfortunately we have to play them as better talent is unavailable.

Matthews should not be made captain as he has not been successful. Malinga is the only current World Cup (T20I) winning captain but some senior players are not very receptive to his leadership. A tough decision must be taken on the choice of captain. However, bringing Dimuth into the ODI squad for his great captaincy skills is unwise as he has no place in the ODI squad.

Batting order must change. The crucial number three position must not go to Kusal Mendis who is a slow batter. Matthews and Thisara and Isuru must play higher up in the order where they can blossom without the added pressure of running out of balls. This is what worked for WC1996. Tharanga should also play down the batting order. Often times these slow batters cause the required rate to go up and the difficult task falls on latter batsmen who are also burdened with the ball. Contribution of Kusal Mendis and Tharanga is only in the batting department. As specialized batsmen they must be able to handle pressure down the order. Otherwise they are best kept out of the team.

A total of 300 runs is the norm today and mathematically it is a certainty that if a team loses if it makes up of batsmen with far less than 100% strike rate. 

Given the long and grueling format, it is a good idea to financially assist wives and girl friends of players to get there and be with them. This can be done by limiting administration officials and their family members. They don’t play matches and they need not be in England.

As a realist with an umbrella at hand, WC2019 will be an affair to forget for Team Sri Lanka fans. However, making the most of it should be the focus this time. Take each match as a winnable game and let the numbers do the trick.

18 Responses to “Best Twenty Man Squad for WC2019 Including Wanidu Hasaranga”

  1. Randeniyage Says:

    Sorry Dilrook, impossible to agree ! I find rather ridiculous !

    Niroshan Dickwella, Upul Tharanga and Asela Gunaratne are completely out of form and useless.
    Shaminda Eranga ? where is he ? Didin’t even see his name for a while.
    Chanadimal – did not prove anything yet.

    On the other hand Dimuth is long overdue to ODIs. He is a man who can attack from ball 1 but kept away fro no reason.

    main problem is Malinga, who is our best bowler at the moment but will not play without being given captaincy. This is crazy, personal ambitions before the country.
    Agree Mathews should play but again , like Malinga he will not give 100% if not made captain.
    Tissara Perera is another crazy guy who will sabotage if Malinga is made captain.

  2. Hiranthe Says:

    Good initiative Dilrook. Thanks for the list.

    I think Niroshan Dikwella is par below under 19 standard. He has lost his touch and he could not even perform in the domestic tournament.

    Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga were not scoring even in the domestic tournament. But Lahiru Thirimanna and Jeewan Mendis are good replacements. Jeewan is a fighter and a good all-rounder with a lot of experience. Lahiru was ill-treated by the Cricket board all these years due to some reason. He is a better fighter than Chandimal.

    Dinesh Chandimal is a big headed player like Kusal Mendis. They should learn from the likes of Aravinda, Sanga and Mahela how to manage their ego. You should go to the middle with a clear mind without all these ill-feelings such as ego. In place of Niroshan Dikwella, Dinesh should keep wicket.

    Malinga is a better thinking captain than Chandimal. Mathew is a good captain too if he accept the responsibility. However if Malinga is made the captain, everyone should be prepared to play under him, or stay home. He is a maturated cricketer now and his field placing is really good.

  3. Dilrook Says:


    Total agree with you on Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga. I ahve written them off in my previous writings in the short format of the game. However, given the horrible lack of batting depth, we need them in the squad. They must not be given the top slots they are after. They are useless there. Instead they must be told to play down the batting order and take on the pressure of a required run rate. The required run rate is what determines by the first batting team, Duckworth Lewis system or the run rate needed to take us close to 300.

    Matthews, Thisara and Isuru must play higher up in the batting order where they have more balls to face. I put Matthews (our best batter) in number 3 – the venerable position once occupied by Sanga and Aravinda – the power behind our batting charge. Now he has to score well and take on pressure (in addition to balling as well). Why can’t dedicated batsmen like Kusal Mendis and Tharanga do that since they only contribute with the bat?

    Lahiru and Dinesh have a very slow strike rate which shifts the burden on batters down low. Not a wise decision to include them. Dinesh barely made it based on statistics alone. Lahiru’s domestic form is no indicator of his international performance. Glad to be proven wrong.

    Malinga is the best available captain. His aggressive field placing reminds Arjuna and Sanath. If anyone cannot play with him being captain they should stay behind. 1992 World Cup winning Pakistan team had its severe internal disputes. Not everyone accepted Irma Khan. But they did their best.

    Bringing Dimuth to the ODI team for his captaincy skills and current good form is unwise. A fantastic player but not so far in ODIs. Glad to be proven wrong.

  4. Hiranthe Says:


    Agreed for everything.

    I am glad that you have recognised the hard work of malinga as a thinking captain.

    Hope our Selection Committee continue with him as the captain. Next good one is Mathew but he has been never fully dedicated to the country. He only thinks about himself. Of course as you said he is the best batter and should play at No. 3 and in order to save his fitness, he should play as a batsman, not as an all-rounder.

    Dikwella is not dedicated too. Kusal Perera can keep too if Chandimal is not playing. To me, Chandimal is a disgrace and the first ever SL captain who cheated. We had maintained our honesty and standard until then. He should never be offered the captaincy in my view. We had great respect until then.

  5. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    If you want to lose a match give the ball to Malinga. If you think there still a chance to win, then use Tharanga as well and early exit will be guaranteed. Tharanga tries to score all the runs in the fist over and quickly gets out
    sticking out the bat to a ball going away from him. Party wrecker? He bowls all over the ground, not to the wicket.
    These are very good players nobody will dispute, but there was nobody to horn their talents and they carried on recklessly.

    In South Africa, test team achieved a historic win, we couldn’t even with so many world class payers. Sent the
    party wrecker, and all that good work was destroyed. It is demoralising for any team to go from hero to zero.

    T20 world cup finals at home against outsiders WI, a final we should have won. Captain gave the ball to the party
    wrecker, 3 overs 75 runs! Can any team dig out from a hole like that? Who was the fool who throw away a
    golden chance to make history? Captain, can not remember Mahela or Sanga, or the bowler who should’ve
    bowled straight after the first over gone for over 25 runs! Short memories, easily fooled. Wonder who it is.
    After all the guy said he was playing for money, not for the country. So what do you expect?

    Malinga was a very very good bowler but there was nobody to tell him that most important thing. Don’t give away
    too many runs and to bowl straight. Some wides he bowls are sometimes 10 feet away from the wicket. He has
    passed the sell by date. There is also another important factor since most of the selectors are portuguese
    nationals, plus the minister, coach etc. etc. you have to include portuguese players first and then make up
    the rest from the others. Winning? Oh it is not important. Taking part is!

  6. Ancient Sinhalaya Says:

    One more important thing, I forgot. You have to include as many as possible yama paalana deshapaluwan and
    their wives etc. etc. for the tour of England. Let’s have a jolly good time. Cricket? Who cares? We are Sri Lankan
    yama paalana deshapaluwans.

  7. Randeniyage Says:

    Possible squad
    1. Malinga (cpt)
    2. Dimuth Kaunaratna (v/cpt)
    3. Kusal Perera
    4. Kusal Mendis
    5. Dananjaya de Silva
    6. Lahiru Tirimanna
    7. Angelo Mathews
    8. Wnindu Hasaranga
    9. Isuru Udana
    10. Tisara Perera
    11. Suranga Lakmal
    12. Jeevan Mendis
    13. Dushmantha Chameera
    14. Minodh Bhanuka
    15. Vishwa Fernando

    Sri Lanka to name World Cup squad on Thursday
    Tue, Apr 16, 2019, 11:08 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Apr 16, Colombo: The Sri Lanka Cricket team for the ICC Cricket World Cup to be held in England from May 30 to July 14 will be announced on Thursday, April 18, Asantha de Mel, Chairman of the Sri Lanka Cricket Selection Committee said today.

    The ICC deadline is April 23 for member countries to officially announce the respective squads that would compete in championship. India’s Board of Cricket, BCCI announced their 15-member squad team yesterday at Mumbai.

    The selection committee is currently in the process of nominating the Sri Lankan team. The selectors are expected to consider the performance of the players at the Inter-Provincial Cricket Tournament held recently in Dambulla and Kandy in their selection.

    Meanwhile, batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who has been recuperating from injury following his match winning 153 in the Test match against South Africa, has announced that he is fit and ready for World Cup. The 28-year old left hander said he was confident of passing a fitness test for world cup selection.

    In the selection process for the World Cup, more attention will be paid on the five top most scoring batsmen at the Inter-Provincial Cricket Tournament in Dambulla and Kandy. The top five scorers in order are Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Sangeeth Cooray and Dimuth Karunaratne.

    Dananjaya de Silva is the leading all-rounder in the tournament and Minodh Bhanuka plays an important role as a batsman and wicketkeeper.

    Performance of Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana and Vanin Hasaranga as all-rounders, Jeevan Mendis and Akila Dananjaya as spinners and Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal and Dushmantha Chameera as fast bowlers were outstanding.

  8. Dilrook Says:

    If available, Wanidu Hasaranga De Silva must be in the team.

    He is the only Sri Lanka ODI player to get a ODI hattrick on debut. He was a schoolboy then in 2017. His spin attack is far better than all existing spinners.

    He is also a fantastic fielder – dubbed the best available fielder by former selector Asanka Gurusinghe.

    He is also a very capable and aggressive batsman.

    Wanidu must be given a place in the team.

  9. Randeniyage Says:

    @ Ancient Sinhalaya
    You said “If you want to lose a match give the ball to Malinga.” This could be true last two years. He was dropped and he worked hard to earn his place, but I was very against appointing him as Malinga. But at the moment he is the best bowler we have for ODI format and we need him. But he may retire if you don’t make him captain. Considering all these, my selection of him as captain and to stabilise the team Dimuth as VC.
    It was very wrong to appoint him as Captain under the short-term government, by De Mel( who is a relative of Mrs. Big Name).
    However, now it is too late.
    I would like to make a change to my squad – remove Minodh Bhanuka and add Bhanuka Rajapakse or Dasun Chanaka. Dasun is better but he will not be selected by De Mel. De Mel prefers Catholics. It could be the badminton player Chamika Karunaratne , De Mel’s friend’s son. Too bad , that is how Sri lanka operate.

  10. Randeniyage Says:

    Latest news, Dimuth has been made Captain. This means we may loose Malinga.

  11. Hiranthe Says:

    Sri Lanka has done another blunder by making Dimuth the World Cup captain.

    If other players cannot play under Malilnga, they should leave.

    It should not be a reason for the Selection Committee not to appoint him as the captain.

    It looks like the Born again guys are reluctant to play under a Buddhist captain ha ha..

  12. Randeniyage Says:

    Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimane, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dananjaya De Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardena

    Stand By: Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Wanindu Hasaranga

    There is news that Malinga has submitted his resignation from the squad – not confirmed yet. It is dangerous to keep him as he will drop crucial catches.

  13. Randeniyage Says:

    I think Dimuth is a Buddhist. Haven’t seen him drawing a cross. His wedding was held in a Buddhist temple.

  14. Dilrook Says:

    I will be surprised if Team Sri Lanka wins more than 3 matches.

    If Malinga pulls out that is the end of it all.

    Even Afghanistan will beat Sri Lanka deservedly.

  15. Randeniyage Says:

  16. Dilrook Says:


    I must say Asantha is right on some matters. I agree with him on Akila and Dinesh after his detailed explanation.

    However, there are a few remaining shockers.

  17. Randeniyage Says:

    My guesses were wrong but 11/15 were selected. My squad was not my choices but I was guessing Asantha’s squad.
    However I agree with 11 selections and reason for Dasun not playing was explained.
    There are no shocks to me. Chandimal destroyed is personality by trusting superstitions. Malinga destroyed himself by being arrogant. I hope he will play for the country ( by playing with his heart than politics).
    I want to mention Kumara ( who may still be recovering from injury) only real fast bowler who is 100% suited for UK conditions. Unfortunately we lost him.
    I completely forgot the young gun Avishka but not sure whether he is the correct choice out of others such as Sandun Weerakkody and Oshadha Fernando. Avishka is a very good player but I feel Oshada is more suited to England than him because Oshadha is a straight bat generally.
    We should wish all the best for them.

  18. Randeniyage Says:

    De Mel’s contradictions
    Letter to the Editor
    April 19, 2019, 8:52 pm

    New ideas during crisis situation are welcomed by us Lankans, believing that it could be the cure for all ills. When our national cricket team started to lose matches to Zimbabwe at home, we turned to Chandika Hathurusinghe, the then Bangladesh Head Coach. He was universally acknowledged as a coach who knew how to get the best out of players, provided he was given a free hand. Bangladesh Cricket Board, in their wisdom, gave him a free hand and made him accountable for the results. Needless to say, Bangladesh under him went from strength to strength and beat us at home as well.

    When Hathurusinghe took over in January 2018, we were ranked 8th in the world in ODIs and continue to do so even now. After initial success in 2018, against similarly placed teams, we played top teams such as England and South Africa at home. The results as expected were not satisfying at all. We lost to South Africa and England convincingly.

    Despite the losses there were signs that the core of the team, for the World Cup, was taking shape. Then the Constitutional Coup happened and some unsavoury elements started to yeild power. They clearly had an axe to grind with Hathurusingha and an opinion was created in the media that the Head Coach was the reason for the failures. The same powers that were behind Hathurusingha’s ouster as the ‘shadow coach’ in 2009-2010.

    Asantha de Mel was appointed as the chief selector in October last year. Again the Sri Lankan public welcomed his appointment as the messiah who would guide the team to glory.

    When De Mel announced his ODI team for the New Zealand ODIs, it was done during the first Test in New Zealand. Chandimal and Thisara Perera were unceremoniously dropped from their leadership roles. He made six changes to the team that last played and won an ODI against England at home with a record margin. He changed the batting order asking Chandimal to bat at five when he had batted at three, scoring 80 odd runs against England in the last match. He selected two players who had not played for the previous 10 months (AselaGunarathne and SeekugePrasanna), keeping out Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, KasunRajitha and Dushmantha Chameera who were instrumental in winning the last match against England. Needless to say, the upheaval created by these all-pervading changes, resulted in the team losing all the ODIs in New Zealand and South Africa.

    Prior to De Mel, Labrooy’s selection committee tried 26 players across 17 ODI’s in 2018. In eight ODI’s, De Mel has tried 23 players! With the World Cup squad now announced this number easily surpasses that of Labrooy’s within a matter of 6 months.

    Memories were short and he continued to contradict himself without ever being pointed to earlier comments. On 15 December 2018, he criticised the earlier selectors for dropping Angelo Mathews from the team on fitness grounds – particularly on the ground of running between the wickets. He said Angelo Mathews was always fit and it was just a ruse to drop him. Eighteen days later, he was scathingly critical of Angelo Matthews for being so unfit as Matthews was injured running leisurely between the wickets. He was openly critical of the Head Coach whilst the latter did not have a right of reply as he was bound by his contract with SLC.

    De Mel does not think long term at all and believes in quick fixes, and if they happened to produce positive instant results, he wallowed in media glory. He appointed Lasith Malinga as the ODI captain stating that Malinga was a fighter. Well, De Mel was half correct –a trait that he appears to have mastered, in the last six months. It was just that Malinga was fighting every other member of his own team and not the opposition. The results were catastrophic as we did not win a single ODI under Malinga. De Mel says that he analyzes statistics before he makes decisions. I wonder if this is true. Clearly this is not. The last 14 matches Malinga played in, Sri Lanka lost 13 of them with one no result, while the last 11 matches Sri Lanka played without Malinga, we won six of them. So, it’s a 54% win ratio without Malinga in the team.

    Had De Mel thought long term, and believed Chandimal was not the right choice, then he should have played Dimuth Karunaratne in the ODI team and assessed his suitability to be a member of the team and then elevated him to captaincy. It is not Karunarathne’s fault if he fails in the World Cup, as he has been thrust into the job that he was not expected to be a part of. Dimuth Karunarathne played his last ODI four years ago.

    De Mel appointed Niroshan Dickwella in place of Thisara Perera as stated earlier in New Zealand stating that he was thinking ahead. He added that Dickwella is captaincy material as he had captained his school and other teams successfully. Now, Dickwella is not even in the team for the World Cup. All this volte-face within five months!

    Now the World Cup Squad has been announced without any signs of the Head Coach at the press briefing. Eleven of the 15 players selected for the World Cup are in the age group of 29-36 years. Most of them, with the exception of a few, are not automatic choices. The selections have been made based on the performances of the hastily organized provincial tournament. De Mel claims that he has preferred experience over promise.

    History informs us that a set of experienced players with some fresh talent, playing together as a team for some time has always tended to do better at the World Cup. Our team in 1996 was a prime example of that. The team that played in New Zealand is vastly different to that played in South Africa and now the World Cup team is even more different to both those teams. He tried a few debutantes in New Zealand and South Africa. None of them, except one player who continuously failed, has been retained in the World cup squad. God help Sri Lanka.

    Amila K. Perera

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