Ahead of Asia Cup 2018, Two Sri Lanka stars are likely to miss at least a couple of games. While Akila Dananjaya is set to miss at the least the first two matches of the tournament as he awaits the birth of his first child, Dinesh Chandimal’s fractured right-hand middle finger could well rule him out of the tournament.
More news on Chandimal’s availability will be known in the upcoming week but he is likely to be replaced by Niroshan Dickwella, who is on standby after missing the cut for Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup 2018 squad.
Despite a decent series against South Africa, where he averaged over 30 and had a strike rate in excess of 80, Dickwella’s omission was a surprise despite his forgettable display in the domestic T20 tournament that followed South Africa’s tour.
Chandimal, who was widely expected to be an integral part of the Sri Lankan side in UAE, is likely to miss the Asia Cup completely as he recovers from the hairline fracture he suffered during Sri Lanka’s domestic T20 tournament where he featured for Colombo.
Chandimal will likely be replaced by Niroshan Dickwella who is on standby after missing out on the initial squad. Dickwella was also dropped for the one-off T20 against South Africa at home last month when Chandimal had returned from the ICC-imposed spirit-of-cricket suspension.
Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh in the tournament opener on September 15, with their next game set for September 17 against Afghanistan. The absence of Dananjaya is particularly a blow, with the offspinner being among Sri Lanka’s main threats in the shorter formats of the game, having also regularly taken up new-ball duties in the crucial Powerplay period.
With the top two teams from each groups of three making it through to the Super Four stage, the truncated nature of the tournament leaves little margin for error and Sri Lanka will be hoping the offspin of Dilruwan Perera and the return of Lasith Malinga will help offset Dananjaya’s unavailability.