April 24, 2018

Chance for Sri Lanka to seal World Cup spot

20 August 2017, 10:45 | Franklin Nunez

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Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma planting a sapling in Sri Lanka.

"The squad in Champions Trophy was a very good side".

India have made as many as 7 changes to the 15-man squad that last played in Windies.

Yet, global cricket is a different ballgame than a domestic T20 league.

The focus will be on MS Dhoni as well, as the former captain is under pressure to repay the faith the selectors have shown in him.

Virat Kohli (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Manish Pandey, Ajinkya Rahane, Kedar Jadhav, MS Dhoni (wk), Hardik Pandya, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shardul Thakur.

India's history against Sri Lanka at Dambulla is not so great - they've only churned 4 wins from the 11 past appearances. While he didn't get many changes to shine with the bat, he did bowl quite a few overs in the Champions Trophy as well as in West Indies.

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Virat Kohli made his global debut for India in Dambulla in 2008, as a fresh-faced opener.

Ashwin will be the first Indian player to play for Worcestershire since Zaheer Khan resurrected his global career after a superb season with them in 2006. The absence of a regular fifth bowler means that playing Jadhav gives Kohli the option of two part timers to complete the quota of the fifth bowler. But, even with the less experienced bowling attack, India start as the favourites against their sub-continental opponents.

"Now who are those two going to be really depends on what we feel like going in with as a team but having wrist spinners in the team is always an advantage".

The islanders, meanwhile, will be looking to secure their direct qualification for the 2019 ICC World Cup. Sri Lanka need at least two wins to assure themselves a berth in the 2019 World Cup and failure to do so will leave them hanging.

Sri Lanka have solidity in Kusal Mendis but his recent form hasn't been encouraging. It is easier said than done, of course.

The hosts also lost 3-2 to Zimbabwe at home before the Indian tour, a defeat that prompted Angelo Mathews to quit captaincy.

Sri Lanka are now placed at eighth with 88 points, ten points clear of West Indies but with the cut-off date for direct qualification being September 30th, the Lankans are under tremendous pressure to perform in the 5-match ODI series against third-ranked India, especially after a disastrous Test series. What lies ahead is a new challenge, and the traumatised hosts will prefer to think likewise. So it becomes very hard for you to understand as to what you do in that situation because he came back and scored in the Champions Trophy...

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