There was a time in the 90s when Sri Lankan cricket was touching a pinnacle and India was a side solely dependent on Sachin Tendulkar’s performances. Time has flown by and things have changed quite drastically. Whilst the Indian side is annihilating everyone coming their way, Sri Lankan cricket is in its worst phase ever.
Sri Lankan cricket’s progress is often called a fairytale, the way they broke the deadlock of being minnows and emerged as the World Champions in 1996. A certain Arjuna Ranatunga, with impeccable contributions from Hashan Tillakaratne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Aravindra de Silva and not to mention, the swashbuckling Sanath Jayasuriya, helped the Islanders turn a prominent unit, who could defeat anyone on their day.
In 2007 and 2011 World Cups, they reached the finals and unfortunately, lost both those games. Clearly, they were a side to reckon with and all their efforts paid off when they lifted the 2014 ICC World T20 beating India in the finals. Life just got difficult for them post the 2015 World Cup and in quite a delirious state of mind, they’ll travel to India to face Kohli and co.
Taking a close look at both sides, this Lankan side doesn’t look competitive enough. With few of the Indian players in the best phase of their lives, the task for the visitors will only get difficult. Here’s a list of few cricketers from the home side, who might not hog the entire limelight, but have a point to prove to both the management and the fans.
1. Murali Vijay
Undoubtedly one of the best batsmen in the current side, Murali Vijay’s calm and composed approach is quite an asset. His numbers don’t do complete justice, but he’s one of the few players who has an assured place in the side. With his resolute technique and naturally gifted timing ability, Vijay makes a good case for being one of the best openers around the world. He needs some big runs under his belt and who knows, this might be his series to counter.
2. KL Rahul
Most of the Indian fans wonder what actually happened to KL Rahul. His career began on a high, but the way things unfolded in recent times must’ve disappointed him. His primary target as of now is to win a ticket to England for the World Cup in 2019 and if at all he gets a chance, he has to score loads of runs. One of the three Indian cricketers to have scored centuries in all formats, Rahul is a player India would never want to miss out on.
3. Mohammed Shami
With Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting showered with praises for their brilliant work in tandem, Mohammed Shami remained a peripheral part of the unit for a while now. India’s highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup, Shami is definitely one of the best bowlers in the country. Shami currently has a point to prove and he has to ensure he doesn’t go out of consideration.
4. Kuldeep Yadav
One of the most cunning spinners around the world, Kuldeep Yadav is one of the brightest young prospects in Indian cricket. Although he’s a rare talent, he keeps working hard on his variations and ensures he doesn’t get too predictable. The chinaman bowler announced himself in a grand way against Australia and since then, he’s been an integral part of the ODI and T20 squad. If India decide to go with three spinners, he is the one Kohli will opt.
5. Wriddhiman Saha
It’s not easy to fill the boots of the legendary MS Dhoni, but thus far, Wriddhiman Saha has done quite a decent job. His batting position hasn’t remained constant, but no matter where he bats, he shows great character and piles up some useful runs for the side. Arguably one of the best Keepers in the world, Saha still has a lot to do to ensure his place in the Indian Test side is secured. This series can be his great chance to pile up some big runs.