Sri Lanka chairman of selectors Graeme Labrooy's view on the squad

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"We didn't want to throw him to the deep end or to take him to India and leave him on the bench. Instead, what we tried to do was to let him play some domestic cricket, work on his game and regain his confidence," Labrooy told Cricbuzz on Monday (November 6).

"He is a confidence player. For him confidence is everything. He has got everything in his armoury. We don't want a situation where he plays two more innings, gets two low scores and then drop him and destroy his confidence further. He has got age on his side and we want him to go onto become one of the greatest of the game. We want him to play for another ten years."

The dropping of opener Kaushal Silva also came as a surprise especially after coach Nic Pothas made him as an example as the sort of character the team needed. Silva had a top score of 27 after four innings during the Pakistan series last month which Sri Lanka won 2-0, but Pothas' firm backing made everyone to believe that Silva was in Sri Lanka's plans for India.

"We share the same sentiments with Nic. But, at the end of the day, you need to put runs on the board. Character, attitude, team spirit all these things are there but we expect more from him with the bat," Labrooy explained.

The absence of Silva makes an opening slot vacant and Labrooy said Mendis' former Under-19 teammate Sadeera Samarawickrama will fit that bill. "Sadeera is a player for the future. This is the correct time that we should bring him in. Now is the time for him to bite the bullet and take up that challenge against world's number one ranked team. He will put pressure back on the bowlers by putting the loose balls away. (We are) very impressed with his game," Labrooy pointed out.

"The number three position is a toss up between Lahiru Thirimanne and Dhananjaya de Silva. We are glad that Dhananjaya made some runs for Sri Lanka A in the Caribbean. He will be considered as an opener or number three batsman in the future and we don't want to drop him to middle order," Labrooy opinioned.

Middle order batsman Asela Gunaratne, who fractured his hand during the first Test against India, has recovered fully from the injury but was overlooked for the series. "Asela is fit and has been medically cleared. But then he has not played any cricket for three and half months. When you are playing the best team in the world, you need your players at their peak. If everything goes well, he will be back for the ODIs," Labrooy added.

The selectors also overlooked fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep, who bowled exceptionally well in the scorching heat of UAE during the two-Test series against Pakistan. "We did a study of Nuwan and the games that he has played in the last 18 months. We feel that he can not take much of the work load. He gives 100 percent all the time. His body can take only one Test match, and then he needs to put in lot more effort to play the second Test. So we thought not to stress him. He will not be considered for the Test matches against Bangladesh as well in January. We are looking at him only for ODIs for the time being."

Predicted Selectors XI from this Squad -

1.   Sadeera Samarawickrama (Right-hand Batsman)
2.   Dimuth Karunaratne(Left-hand Batsman)
3.   Dhananjaya de Silva (All-Rounder)(Right-hand Batsman)(Slow Right-arm Off-Spin)/Lahiru Thirimanne(Right-hand Batsman)
4.   Dinesh Chandimal (Right-hand Batsman)(Captain)
5.   Roshen Sliva (Right-hand Batsman)/Dasun Shanaka(All-Rounder)(Right-hand Batsman)(Right-Arm Medium)
6.   Angelo Mathews (Right-hand Batsman)
7.   Niroshan Dickwella (Left-hand Batsman)(Wicket-keeper)
8.   Dilruwan Perera(Slow Right-arm Off-Spin)/Lakshan Sandakan (Slow left-arm chinaman)
9.   Rangana Herath (Slow left-arm orthodox)
10. Suranga Lakmal(Right-Arm Medium-Fast)
11.  Lahiru Gamage (Right-Arm Medium-Fast)/Vishwa Fernando(Left-Arm Fast-Medium)

My XI from this Squad -

1.   Sadeera Samarawickrama (Right-hand Batsman)
2.   Dimuth Karunaratne(Left-hand Batsman)
3.   Dhananjaya de Silva (All-Rounder)(Right-hand Batsman)(Slow Right-arm Off-Spin)
4.   Dinesh Chandimal (Right-hand Batsman)(Captain)
5.   Roshen Sliva (Right-hand Batsman)
6.   Angelo Mathews (Right-hand Batsman)
7.   Niroshan Dickwella (Left-hand Batsman)(Wicket-keeper)
8.   Lakshan Sandakan (Slow left-arm chinaman)
9.   Rangana Herath (Slow left-arm orthodox)
10. Suranga Lakmal(Right-Arm Medium-Fast)
11.  Lahiru Gamage (Right-Arm Medium-Fast)

Most Likely Possible Finalised Support Staff at the Start of January 2018-
Head Coach: [Australian]  Jason Gillespie or  [Sri Lankan]  Chandika Hathurusingha
Batting Coach: [Sri Lankan]  Thilan Samaraweera
Fielding Coach:  [South African] Nic Pothas
Fast Bowling Coach:  [Sri Lankan]  Rumesh Ratnayake
Spin Bowling Coach:  [Sri Lankan]  Piyal Wijetunge
Strength & Conditioning Coach:  [England]  Nick Lee
Someone to fill in the vacant positions of Physiotherapist, Psychologist, Physician, Team Manager, On-Tour Selector 
Asanka Gurusinha should be Fired Cricket Manger.


Sam Ratnayake's picture

I do agree with Labrooy's view on some of the players. Sri lanka is finally lucky to have an intelligent selectors on the board. I also pray for them to understand our hidden treasures in the form of Kithruwan Withanage, Jeevan Mendis, Ajantha Mendis, Binura Fernando and Bhanuka.

In short, we have the players to face any challenge in the batting department but still lacking good fast bowlers who can deliver. So, Jason Gillespie is my choice to be the Head Coach, if not Pothas.

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