Sri Lanka selectors ponder separate Twenty20 team

Sri Lanka chief selector Ashantha de Mel has said that the national selection committee may streamline the selection of teams, and have a separate Twenty20 squad, following Sri Lanka’s 36-run loss to West Indies in the World Twenty20 final in Colombo.

The changes are likely to be introduced in the one-off T20 international against New Zealand to be played at Pallekele on October 30.

Vice captain Angelo Mathews is expected to take the reins for the game against New Zealand, with Mahela Jayawardene having resigned from the captaincy following the World Twenty20 final.

“We will have to go with Mathews for the moment but we will assess the captaincy. The team should be captained by a player who has a permanent place in the side,” de Mel said. “We need to separate the Test and ODI players from the T20 players and pick a squad that will fulfill the requirements of T20 cricket.

“We will pick a young side with players who can make a clean strike of the ball,” he said. Sri Lanka hit the least sixes of the four semi-finalists in the World Twenty20 and managed only one six to West Indies’ seven in the final. “We really have to assess the situation and start building a team of T20 cricketers for the next World T20 in Bangladesh in 2014,” said de Mel.

“We need to find some strong hitters who can clear the boundary successfully. Players like Mahela Jayawardene and Angelo Mathews don’t have the power so they adopt different methods to score runs like the scoop and the reverse sweep. Even playing those strokes you need the strength to clear the fielders,” he said.

Mathews exposed his stumps and was bowled attempting to play the scoop shot against Darren Sammy and Jayawardene failed to clear the short third man fielder when he reverse swept Sunil Narine. De Mel said that Dilshan Munaweera, who was unused after the group stages of the World Twenty20, was a player who could hit sixes.

“Chamara Kapugedera is another batsman who could easily clear the boundary but he has been under so much pressure from all quarters for failing to contribute big scores that he was eventually dropped,” de Mel said.

Kapugedera hit 13 sixes in six matches for NCC in the Premier club T20 tournament and had a strike rate of 179.64.

De Mel also said Sri Lanka paid the penalty for not being aggressive enough chasing a West Indies total of 137 for victory. Sri Lanka’s batsmen were circumspect after the dismissal of Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second over, and struggled to score at the require run rate throughout the innings. They were eventually dismissed for 101.

“I don’t know what went wrong with our batting, for in the earlier matches we used to score at least 50 runs in the first six overs of Powerplay. Here they managed only 30 runs which put the fielding side on top.

“I think we also panicked during our innings when there was a slight drizzle and threw away wickets rather unnecessarily trying to up the score, the two run outs of Thisara Perera and Jeevan Mendis didn’t help either. Everything seemed to go against us.” (Cricinfo)