Dilshan unlikely to play in World T20

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

“If Dilshan can’t play that practice match, I think he is out, unfortunately”

Sri Lanka opening batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan is unlikely to play in the upcoming World Twenty20 in Bangladesh after fracturing his thumb during the second ODI against Bangladesh on February 20.

The national selectors have given Dilshan a deadline of March 19 to get fully fit, otherwise he will not play in the tournament.

“If Dilshan can’t play that practice match, I think he is out, unfortunately,” chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya said. “That’s what we have discussed with physio. The cut-off date for him will be the 19th [March] practice match. He is bowling and fielding. But while batting he seems to be struggling a bit.

“Generally, as a cricketer, you’re always carrying a niggle. If you take the current squad of 15 players, about ten of them have some niggles. But you should at least be able to play through the pain.”

Jayasuriya also noted that no replacement will be called up if Dilshan is ruled out.

“We have the options in the team to replace him at opener, since Thirimanne has been in good form,” he said. “We have other seniors also. That won’t be a problem.

“We have a few ideas about who can replace him in the squad as well. We had Chaturanga de Silva as the standby for Rangana Herath, who was injured, but now Herath is ready to play. If Dilshan is not coming we’ll have to assess whether we need an allrounder or an opener.”

Jayasuriya also backed Dinesh Chandimal as Twenty20 captain, despite his mediocre record.

“Chandimal as a captain in T20s has done well and has won tournaments,” Jayasuriya said. “He wasn’t among the runs recently, and during the one-day tournament, the selectors took a decision to leave him out and go with Ashan Priyanjan. We sent the message that he needs to correct his mistakes, improve mentally and come out of the bad trot – that’s why we left him out. But as a captain I know he has done well in T20s and he has got lot of support from Lasith Malinga. He’s a good player and as selectors we have to really back him 100% as the team’s captain.”

Overall, Jayasuriya believes that Sri Lanka have an excellent all-round team.

“We have to use our allrounders wisely, according to the game,” he said. “I feel the ball might keep low in Bangladesh – in Chittagong will keep it even lower. We have to take a decision whether we are going into the game with more spinners or seaming allrounders. When we have won competitions, in the past, our style is that we create pressure by squeezing the runs. That has been our strength.

“I’m very happy as a selector to see the players performing. We have a strong team.”

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