by Rex Clementine
Sri Lanka were knocked out of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 with three games to spare. They finished the sport’s showpiece event with just two wins and seven losses. That included first ever defeats in World Cups to Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
This was an awful campaign for the former champions. They were led by a captain who had little momentum behind him lead up to the tournament and halfway through he had to be replaced due to injury.
The captaincy was handed to Kusal Mendis, who had started the competition with a bang with a hundred and the fastest half-century by a Sri Lankan in World Cups. But with the responsibility of captaincy, his form deserted him.
Sri Lanka’s selections were not too smart as well. They were a batsman short in the squad and over reliance on too many all-rounders spelt disaster as they hardly got a look in throughout the tournament.
Their best all-rounder Angelo Mathews didn’t start the competition but having come in as reserve played a pivotal role with regular breakthroughs, but his exploits were too late for the Sri Lankans, who were wrong in sidelining half a dozen seniors for two years as they embraced a youth policy.
Young Pathum Nissanka and Sadeera Samarawickrama scored heavily but they were not backed up by the middle order as Sri Lanka were bowled out without utilizing their full quota of overs several times.
Injuries were a bitter pill to swallow for the team as well as they missed their best spinner Wanindu Hasaranga while Dushmantha Chameera didn’t start the tournament. Lahiru Kumara was Man of the Match as Sri Lanka beat defending champions England but had to return home with a quadriceps injury.
It was Sri Lanka’s worst World Cup campaign since their first-round exit in 1999.