World Cup 2023 preview: Sri Lanka, Afghanistan look to take the big leap towards semis
Both teams have four points from five games and a loss could see him slipping out of the race for the knockouts.
Sri Lanka team players during a practice session ahead of their match against Afghanistan in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, at MCA stadium, in Pune on Sunday, October 29, 2023. (ANI Photo)
India Weekly Staff
SRI LANKA’S Dushmantha Chameera could be thrust straight into World Cup action against Afghanistan following his late call-up into the squad, according to assistant coach Naveed Nawaz.
The 31-year-old Chameera, a veteran of 44 one-day internationals, was summoned after fellow paceman Lahiru Kumara was sidelined by a left thigh-muscle injury sustained during training in Pune, where Sri Lanka play Afghanistan on Monday.
Nawaz, asked about Chameera’s prospects of facing Afghanistan, told a pre-match press conference on Sunday: “Yes, there is a high chance of that happening, because we play with three (fast) bowlers.”
Kumara took 3-35 in Sri Lanka’s eight-wicket thrashing of defending champions England in Bengaluru on Thursday (26).
“He (Kumara) was the man-of-the-match in the last game and obviously he bowled really well,” said Nawaz.
“So, it’s going to hurt us a little bit. But on the other hand, we are getting Dushmantha Chameera to come in. He’s an experienced bowler as well. So, if he gets to play tomorrow, I think it’s going to come good for us.”
Last week, former skipper Angelo Mathews was called into the Sri Lanka squad to replace injured fast bowler Matheesha Pathirana.
“In this tournament, we witnessed a series of unfortunate events involving Matheesha Pathirana,” said Nawaz.
“For instance, during a practice match, he was struck by a ball on his shoulder, and this incident aggravated his existing shoulder injury.
“A similar scenario unfolded with Dilshan Madushanka last year during the Asia Cup. He sustained a shoulder injury while fielding in a match. It appears that for fast bowlers, particularly those consistently bowling at speeds of 140-145 kph (87-90 mph), the risk of injury is notably high.
“This trend is causing concern…Even Dushmantha Chameera had a shoulder injury. It happened in the match we played against Afghanistan in Hambantota (in June).”
Victory over England was one of just two wins 1996 World Cup winners Sri Lanka have managed in their opening five games of this edition.
They are, however, currently fifth in the 10-team table and still in with a chance of qualifying for the semi-finals.
“The position that we are in, we are compelled to win a lot of matches from now on,” said Nawaz, adding: “All the games (now) are must-win games for us.”