More meaning for bilateral cricket as Lankans take on Windies


Sri Lankan cricketer Lasith Malinga catches a ball during a practice session at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo on October 31, 2015 ahead of the opening One-Day International (ODI) cricket match between Sri Lanka and the West Indies on November 1.Pic by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi.

by Rex Clementine

Bilateral one-day series between lopsided teams will no more be boring after International Cricket Council introduced a qualifying process for the next Cricket World Cup in England in 2019.

Accordingly, of the ten full members of the ICC, only eight top ranked teams will have automatic qualification for cricket’s showpiece event while the last two teams will play a qualifying tournament with the top four ranked sides among the ICC Associates for the remaining two slots of the ten nation tournament.

The bilateral series between West Indies and Sri Lanka will be the first series played under the new system and R. Premadasa Stadium will host today’s first ODI. The second ODI will also be played at the same venue on Wednesday while the teams will travel to Kandy for the last game at Pallekele on Saturday.

Sri Lanka won the two Test series comprehensively, but the return of some star performers of the West Indies for the shorter version of the game make them a stronger outfit in ODIs. Ravi Rampaul, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell were not part of West Indies’ Test outfit and although the West Indies will not have the services of Chris Gayle, Dwayne Bravo and Kieron Pollard, their ODI outfit looks stronger than their Test team.

For Sri Lanka some of their veterans return to the side. Lasith Malinga was criticized for being unfit and overweight during Sri Lanka’s T-20 against Pakistan a few months ago and the fast bowler has returned to the side fitter.

Veteran opener Tillekeratne Dilshan, who celebrated his 39th birthday last week, also returns to the side along with other seniors like Ajantha Mendis and Nuwan Kulasekara.

However, Sri Lanka will not have the services of wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Chandimal, who has been banned by the ICC for breach of the Code of Conduct for players. Chandimal and India’s Ishant Sharma were banned for one game each for an altercation during the last Test between the teams in August at SSC.

Sri Lanka are not in danger zone of not making the automatic World Cup selections as they are ranked fifth. West Indies, however, are ranked eighth. It’s vital for Sri Lanka to be conscious about their position in ICC Rankings for the next 24 months. The top eight teams as of 30th September 2017 will get automatic qualification for the World Cup.

A clean sweep will see Sri Lanka gain 105 points, but they will remain at number five as fourth ranked New Zealand have 109 points. A 2-1 series win will help Sri Lanka to retain their 103 points. However, a series defeat will bring their points to 102, just above sixth placed England on 100 points.

Sri Lanka (From)

Angelo Mathews (Captain), Dushmantha Chameera, Tillekeratne Dilshan, Danushka Gunathilake, Shehan Jayasuriya, Nuwan Kulasekara, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga, Ajantha Mendis, Kusal Perera, Sachithra Senanayake, Milinda Siriwardene, Lahiru Thirimanne and Jeffrey Vandersay.

West Indies (From)

Jason Holder (Captain), Devendra Bishoo, Jermaine Blackwood, Carlos Brathwaite, Darren Bravo, Jonathan Carter, Johnson Charles, Andre Fletcher, Jason Mohammad Sunil Narine, Denesh Ramdin, Ravi Rampaul, Andre Russel, Marlon Samuels and Jerome Taylor.


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