After an encouraging campaign by the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup and with a number of players involved in the IPL, Mahela Jayawardena is convinced that Sri Lanka can make waves at the 2022 tournament in Australia.
After negotiating with early challengers in the first round, Sri Lanka continued to beat Bangladesh and the West Indies in the UAE, also pushing South Africa in the final thriller in Sharjah.
Encouraged by the many younger players who rose in last year’s campaign, Jayawardena believes the return of Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilake means the side has the merit of turning over more fancy opponents in Australia.
“I think the young team that took part in the last World Cup did very well and played very good attacking cricket. There will be a few more players to be added to that (team) who were suspended during that period,” Jayawardena, who joined the team. as a tournament consultant, he said ICC review.
“Bhanuka Rajapaksa is at the top of the standings. Pathum Nissanka had a great T20 World Cup and so did Charith Asalanka, so I think we have a very attacking lineup to hit, with a lot of young players looking forward to the Second World Cup and these are the key guys for Sri Lanka in the future.
– I think we are developing quite well.
With the Mumbai Indians as head coach, the ICC Hall of Famer has been vigilantly monitoring Sri Lanka’s best results in the IPL, with at least half a dozen in the books of various teams inscribed in small part on their individual T20 World Cup success.
Member of the ICC Men’s ODI and T20I Teams of the Year, Wanindu Hasaranga goes from strength to strength in his second season at the Royal Challengers Bangalore, while the development of Maheesha Theekshane, Dushmanthe Chameere and others represents good for the national team’s future success.
In Jayawardena’s eyes, Hasaranga will be well accompanied by a sharp bowling attack, stifling opposition in Australia.
“I think Wanindu will be a key factor. He is currently one of the best all-rounders in world cricket,” Jayawardena said.
Dushmantha Chameera has come a long way, I think the bowling department will be key for Sri Lanka at the moment, so Dushmantha and Wanindu are key factors. Maheesh Theekshana’s game for Chennai (s) is another advantage for Sri Lanka, so they those three bowlers key to Sri Lanka in the tournament.
“In general, after seeing some of the players in the IPL performing as well, getting that exposure, I think we’re going to have a pretty experienced unit going to Australia.”
Sri Lanka was touring Australia back in February, winning in Melbourne during the five-game T20I series, and also took the hosts to the Super Over at SCG.
Despite re-entering the first round of the upcoming tournament, Jayawardena believes the results of the tour and Sri Lanka’s strong support only boost the prospects of their campaign, which starts on October 16 against Namibia in Geelong – the tournament’s initiator.
“Even in Australia they went and played a few T20s in February and they performed pretty well,” he said. “I think they’re sure to compete and (they) also have some exciting talents to see.”
As for who wins the T20 World Cup later in the year, Mahela does not yet have Sri Lanka in the mix and attaches great importance to the weeks leading up to the tournament.
“It’s tough. There are about six or seven teams competing on an equal footing. We saw that at the last World Cup, which all peaked at the right time at the back of the playoffs,” he said.
“You can’t write off the title defender Australia on their home soil. They know the conditions better and will be a team to be reckoned with, along with New Zealand, England, Pakistan and India. All of these teams will be competing at a high level.”