Sri Lanka wait on star quick as selectors mull third spin option for T20 World Cup

Selectors are tossing up how best to balance their XI at the T20 World Cup as the fitness of a key fast bowler continues to be monitored.

Sri Lanka are confident key pacer Matheesha Pathirana will be fit for the start of next month's ICC Men's T20 World Cup as the island nation weigh up how many spinners to include in their XI.

Pathirana hurt his hamstring during a stint with the Chennai Super Kings in the ongoing Indian Premier League and was sent home to Sri Lanka to recover ahead of the start of the T20 World Cup on June 1.

The right-armer was one of four quicks named in Sri Lanka's 15-player squad for the T20 World Cup alongside Nuwan Thushara, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera and is expected to play a crucial role in their quest for a second title after they tasted success in Bangladesh in 2014.

Sri Lanka's chief selector Upul Tharanga expects Pathirana to be fit for their first game at the T20 World Cup against South Africa in New York on June 3 and believes his side have enough firepower in their pace attack to trouble opposition sides.

"We have players to bowl at the death, but it's in the Powerplay that we need to focus on picking up wickets. So for that we have Madushanka and then as travelling reserve we have Asitha (Fernando)," Tharanga said.

"If we take our side, Thushara, Pathirana they can bowl in the death overs. But we needed someone that could come in if we needed a wicket-taking option with the new ball, which is why we went with Asitha (as a reserve over Binura Fernando)."

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Sri Lanka also have a bevy of spinning options in their squad for the T20 World Cup, with Dhananjaya de Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Charith Asalanka and Dunith Wellalage all capable of providing an extra option alongside skipper Wanindu Hasaranga and star off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana.

Tharanga is still tossing up how to get the balance of his side right for the T20 World Cup, but believes playing three spinners in the same XI is an option worth consideration.

"There could be a chance that we play three spinners sometimes. Looking at that is why we picked Dunith (Wellalage), particularly his batting, because sometimes we could go with him ahead of a fast-bowling all-rounder," Tharanga said.

"As for Dhananjaya, we value his bowling. And with regard to power-hitting, we think we can get that from elsewhere in the side. In terms of his all-round input, and taking into consideration the conditions, he was a better option."

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With the ninth edition of the T20 World Cup to be co-hosted by the USA and West Indies, Tharanga thinks teams will face a variety of different pitches throughout the nine different venues and teams will need to adapt quickly during the tournament.

The former Sri Lanka captain does expect the wickets in the USA in particular to be quite slow and believes they will be conducive to spin.

"If you look at the conditions in America and the West Indies, most of it is pointing towards the wickets there being quite slow," Tharanga said.

"The Major League tournament was played in Dallas with drop-in pitches. If you look at those, even though they're being brought down from Australia they are still quite uneven and a little slow. This could of course change, so it's a little hard to predict."

Sri Lanka squad: Wanindu Hasaranga (c), Charith Asalanka, Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya De Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Dilshan Madushanka. Travelling Reserves: Asitha Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Janith Liyanage.

ICC Men's T20 World Cup, 2024News