By Susitha Fernando
Colombo, July 17 | Newly appointed Sri Lanka ODI captain Dashun Shanaka said that the upcoming India series will be a big challenge as the team is playing without senior players.
All-rounder Shanaka was replaced after Kusal Perera had to be sidelined due to a shoulder injury last week.
The country’s cricket goes through one of the toughest periods in the history as it faces the current series without some of the big names in the game like Anjelow Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Dimuth Karunaratne.
Sri Lanka Cricket also has suspended three top order batsmen Kushal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Dhanushka Gunathilaka for violating the Covid-19 bio bubble in England during their last series.
Among the remaining experienced players included in the current squad are Avishka Fernando, Dhananjaya D’Silva and Isiru Udana.
However Shanaka said that both teams will start evenly as both are missing seniors as some of the Indian players are also in England.
“We know that some of the Indian players who have come to Sri Lanka have played at the IPL but not international cricket. So both teams will have even chances,” he said.
However Shanka said though he doesn’t have control over the victory, he was confident that his team could give a good fight.
“All the challenges would be answered at the end of the series starting tomorrow. It is the challenges that we have to overcome. When there are challenges only we learnt to do well,” said Shanaka, who became the third captain to win debut three T20I series against Pakistan in October 2019.
He joined MS Dhoni and Michael Clarke to win his maiden three T20I as captain against former world champions Pakistan.
Shanaka also told the media that the team can get a good experience playing against India, one of the top teams in the world.
“It will be very good playing against India at this stage as we can exactly measure where we are in,” he said.
He also said that there is a slight advantage as the Indian team will see the some of the new Sri players in international cricket as well.
“The Indian team will have to prepare them for the new comers. The bowlers have thoroughly analysed the new Indian players and I am sure that they would execute their plans in the middle.”
India and Sri Lanka will play three T20I matches and three ODIs from July 18-28.
Sri Lanka’s squad comprise Dasun Shanaka (captain), Dhananjaya de Silva, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando (only T20), Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dhananjaya, Shiran Fernando, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrema, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana.