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National Selection Policy deemed crucial, says Upul Tharanga

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Short-term plans for T20 World Cup in USA

Domestic tournament wickets to be improved

Sri Lanka Cricket has joined with the Sports Ministry to formulate a crucial National selection policy, a commendable initiative, according to Chairman of the Selection Committee Upul Tharanga. Tharanga emphasized the importance of a National selection policy, stating that it requires extensive discussions and careful consideration.

“We need to make short-term plans for the upcoming T20 World Cup in the USA next June, and a long-term plan for the 2027 ODI World Cup. We aim to make selections aligned with these well-thought-out plans,” said Tharanga at a press briefing to announce Sri Lanka’s ODI squad for the Zimbabwe series held yesterday at the SLC Headquarters.

The selection committee has already appointed Kusal Mendis as the ODI Captain and Wanindu Hasaranga as the T20 Captain. Additionally, plans are underway to designate Dhananjaya de Silva as the Test Captain. While Tharanga personally prefers having one skipper for all three formats, the current strategy involves three captains, with Charith Asalanka as the deputy skipper for ODI and T20, and Kusal Mendis as the Test vice-captain.

“We observed our team’s lack of success during the last World Cup in India, and we are taking on new challenges in this difficult period,” remarked Upul Tharanga, the former National opener.

“Primarily, we noted that our team players are not displaying consistent performance, despite their talent. We engaged in discussions with the players before the selections, aiming to guide them smoothly forward,” stated Tharanga at the press conference with the local media yesterday.

“We saw that our batters had good starts but couldn’t sustain long innings, impacting recent matches. Following discussions with our selection committee, we reached a team decision regarding these selections. The High-Performance Unit and the National Super League (NSL) tournament are crucial areas for development. Our High-Performance Unit needs improvement, and we aim to enhance the NSL tournament. Recent club matches revealed players’ performances, and we acknowledge that our domestic tournament wickets need improvement. We are ready to discuss this with SLC officials,” explained Tharanga.

“We lack strong backup players for the National team, a significant concern. Our plan is to produce reliable backups. Players must maintain good fitness, especially during the 50-over game. Poor fielding during the World Cup, with 16 dropped catches, including some half-chances, is an issue. ‘Catches win matches’, and we have to work on that. We have already discussed this with the coaches,” said Tharanga.

“Senior players like Angelo Mathews and Bhanuka Rajapaksa are already in our system. We consider both young and senior players within the same system, prioritizing their fitness. Thorough scrutiny of players is crucial, and we won’t overlook any. We are serious about the National Super League tournament and High-Performance Unit activities, engaging in continuous discussions with coaches and players,” he said.

“Regarding Dinesh Chandimal’s omission, we clarify that he is in our system, but currently, he couldn’t secure a place. He is a number 2-4 batter, but players like Charith Asalanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama are challenging to displace. We value bowlers like Kasun Rajitha and Promod Madushan is also a skilled bowler. All matches will be played at R. Premadasa International Stadium, and we aim to give Madushan an opportunity ahead of Kasun Rajitha. Any replacements must be handled carefully to ensure the best selection,” emphasized Tharanga.

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