No Virat Kohli, no Rohit Sharma, no Jasprit Bumrah, yet India poses some serious quality in the team. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya, Bhuvneshwar Kumar bring a lot of experience while Suryakumar Yadav, Ishan Kishan, Sanju Samson have already proved their mettle in the IPL. No doubt India will start as favourites against Sri Lanka, who are coming back from a crushing defeat to England.
Sri Lanka’s recent performances have been miserable, to say the least. If one looks around the current setup, there is hardly any player that can be deemed as a match-winner. Also, the injury to Kusal Perera is a massive blow to their chances.
Dasun Shanaka, who will don the skipper’s hat against India, however, feels that Sri Lanka have an even chance of winning going into the series. Shanaka reckons that most of the Indian youngsters have played in IPL but playing an international series is a completely different challenge.
“Both teams will start evenly because they (India) have got new players coming up. We all know that they have played IPL but still they haven’t played international cricket, so both the teams have even chances,” said Shanaka on the eve of the first ODI against India here on Sunday.
Shanaka further feels that including fresh faces in the squad is an advantage as they can be used as surprise weapons to test the visitors.
“Yes, a slight advantage because they (India) haven’t seen these guys in international cricket, as well, so yes, I feel they have to prepare well for these newcomers as well,” said Shanaka.
Talking about how challenging it is to lead Sri Lanka, Shanaka said, “Ya, it is always challenging, you know international cricket and the outside (off the field) problems, it all matters, but end of the day you have to get to it and perform as a team, it is the main concern we all have, so I am sure that boys will look on to it.”
The skipper believes the series against India will give them a fair idea of where they stand at the moment, adding that it will be a good experience for the players.
“The experience will be very good, you know playing against one of the top teams in the world, so it will be a very good to play with India at this point, because we can exactly measure the levels we are in, so it will be a good tournament for us,” he added.