In the thrust to a new look aura indeed new ODI skipper Kusal Janith Perera has breathed the fiery catchword to the dashing outlook he is seeking from his teammates – ‘Play fearlessly rather than be afraid to lose.’ The eve of departure pep slogan word leading a relatively young squad on his maiden mission does certainly lend the characteristic aggressive approach the specialist left-hand batsman packs to the game. That it lends an air of vibrancy of great expectations to the turnaround sought resonates about a captain full of chagrin to barnstorm the opposition.
Therein, the advent of the 30-year old former Royal College product who has backed his game in crackerjack shot making that has drawn comparison to former Master Blaster Sanath Jayasuriya, is certainly tall stuff – tall stuff of a torchbearer who would be seeking to walk the talk. That he does have a matching soul mate with the derring-do to rise to the occasion in deputy skipper Kusal Mendis who broke out to the game in the realms of the magical for willow work is the perfect blend to a selector script banking on the duo to create the change sought to new fortunes. Indeed, the wonderment about this discovery from the cricket crazy city of Moratuwa that produced a namesake in former great Duleep Mendis, is that the 26-year old right hander carries all the explosive hallmarks of a batsman who could destroy any bowling attack. It is the fervent hope of a nation that this bludgeoner of the ball will come to his own from a form patch carrying greater responsibility in putting to a backseat the nauseating consecutive ducks in his last four appearances that extinguished him from the game for a while.
Adding to the pack are some awesome performers in opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka, key all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga, the ever reliable Dhananjaya de Silva with the bat, wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka and new find all-roundersAshen Bandara and Ramesh Mendis.
That Bangladesh terrain will be a tough baptism for the two Kusals in dictating Sri Lanka’s fortunes against a well-oiled Bangladesh outfit that are lion stuff in their own backyard will be a knocking the head against the rocks type of challenge for the newly appointed captain and vice-captain.
Squad: Kusal Perera (capt), Kusal Mendis (vice-capt), Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Pathum Nissanka, Dasun Shanaka, Ashen Bandara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Niroshan Dickwella, Dushmantha Chameera, Ramesh Mendis, Asitha Fernando, Lakshan Sandakan, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando