Sri Lanka ODI captain, Dimuth Karunaratne, in an exclusive interview with Sri Lanka Cricket website srilankasrilankacricket.lk prior to the team’s departure, aired the confidence of walking the talk with his bat in the 3-match ODI series and 2-match Test series. Although it was the first time he was touring the West Indies, he was optimistic of getting into the thick of run making on the fast paced tracks in the Caribbean.
“Now I’ve fully recovered from the injury sidelining against England, and do look forward to performing well against the West Indies,” enthused the 32-year old skipper who became a virtual overnight discovery following impressive successes following his induction to wearing the big mantle which was bestowed on him in view of an impressive batting record.
Karunaratne has scored 4657 Test runs inclusive of 10 centuries 24 half centuries with highest of 196 averaging 36.66. He made a foray into ODI cricket that was once not considered his forte by the national selectors when his astute test captaincy influenced a change of thought that saw Karunaratne making the big leap to winning the captaincy at the 2019 world Cup.
Assessing the opposition, Karunaratne commented that the Caribbean team was a very strong side which has been in the recent spotlight for the outstanding performance of its batsmen and bowlers alike.
While observing that had he been able to take part in the series against England, the outcome might have been different, Karunaratne regretted that a finger injury had put him out of action. “We got out for very low scores. I wish that could have been averted.”
Back on track, the experienced opening batsman said of the tour ahead, “The Antigua track where we will be playing is a fast paced track and we have about a week ahead of the opening game and I expect to soon acclimatize to the pitch conditions and climate,” voiced the left hander who noted that although cricket had come to a virtual standstill last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he had been able to achieve a certain degree of success during the tour of South Africa.
Commenting on the available player resources for the tour ahead, Karunaratne said, “There are several very experienced players as well as talented young players. There are five pacies to draw from in Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilshan Madushanka and Suranga Lakmal. Of the spinners are Wanindu Hasaranga, Kamindu Mendis, Ramesh Mendis, Akila Dananjaya and Lakshan Sandakan. As to all-rounders proficient in all three departments of the game are the experienced Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera and Dasun Shanaka from whom I believe a good service could be expected in the ODIs.”
The first of the ODIs will be from March 10, the second on March 12 and the third and final on March 14; the first test from March 21 to 26 followed by the second from March 29 to April 3 all of which at the Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua in a bio secure environment.
-The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Sri Lanka Cricket-