'India has played IPL but not international cricket' - Dasun Shanaka believes both teams will start on even footing

‘India has played IPL but not international cricket’ – Dasun Shanaka believes both teams will start on even footing

Both India and Sri Lanka have some notable players missing from their respective teams due to different reasons.

Dasun Shanaka
Dasun Shanaka, (Photo by ARIF ALI/AFP via Getty Images)

Sri Lanka’s newly-appointed skipper Dasun Shanaka feels that the Sri Lankan team is not far behind their rivals, India and that both the teams will start the upcoming series on an even footing. Notably, a host of Sri Lanka’s first-choice players are missing due to different reasons. Kusal Perera stands ruled out of the entire series owing to a shoulder injury, while pacer Binura Fernando will miss the ODIs.

Furthermore, the hosts do not have Angelo Mathews, who pulled out citing personal reasons ahead of the series, when Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, and Niroshan Dickwella are already not in the team pending Sri Lanka Cricket’s investigation of the trio’s England bio-bubble breach.

Although for entirely different reasons, India is playing a second-string squad too. All of India’s first-choice players were recently involved against New Zealand in the World test Championship final, which is to be followed by a five-Test series against hosts England, starting August 4th. In the absence of those stars, the Shikhar Dhawan-led visiting side has plenty of new faces in their 25-man squad named for this limited-overs series.

They haven’t played international cricket: Dasun Shanaka

Meanwhile, ahead of the start of the series, Sri Lankan skipper Shanaka suggested that India is entering the series without match practice, and therefore both teams have even chances.

“Both teams will start evenly because they (India) have got new players coming up. We all know that they have played IPL but still, they haven’t played international cricket, so both the teams have even chances,” Dasun Shanaka was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

Notably, Sri Lanka did not name their white-ball squad for the series until as late as Friday (16 July), when they finally confirmed the 23 members. Opening up on that, Shanaka stated it to be a “slight advantage” because “India haven’t seen these guys in international cricket, as well. So yes, I feel they have to prepare well for these newcomers as well.”

He further spoke about the various off-field issues going around Sri Lanka cricket, which includes the players and SLC’s contracts deadlock. “It is always challenging, you know international cricket and the outside (off the field) problems, it all matters, but at the end of the day you have to get to it and perform as a team, it is the main concern we all have, so I am sure that boys will look on to it,” he concluded.