Sri Lanka in deep trouble with two more players ruled out of Asia Cup 2023
Sri Lanka's bowling lineup has suffered significant setbacks due to injuries. Previously, legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga's participation was in doubt as he is in the process of recovering from a grade two thigh strain that might impact his participation in the Asia Cup. Whether he plays will depend on both the speed of his recovery and Sri Lanka's progression in the tournament. However, it seems improbable that he will feature during the group stage.
Now, ESPNCricinfo has learned that Dilshan Madushanka has also been ruled out of the Asia Cup, while Lahiru Kumara is also expected to be unavailable. This comes after Dushmantha Chameera was earlier declared unfit for the tournament.
During a practice game, Madushanka sustained a torn oblique muscle, possibly affecting his fitness leading up to the World Cup in October. Similarly, Chameera is dealing with a pectoral injury that could cast doubt on his availability for the initial matches of the World Cup. On the other hand, Kumara's recurring side strain is expected to heal relatively faster than Chameera's or Madushanka's injuries, but it might still sideline him for the entirety of the Asia Cup.
The Sri Lankan think-tank faces a tough task ahead
Kumara, Chameera, and Madushanka are renowned for their pace bowling, and their absence will pose challenges for Sri Lanka's bowling attack. This attack had played a pivotal role in their success during the World Cup Qualifier held in June and July. In the absence of these fast bowlers, Sri Lanka may need to depend on players like Kasun Rajitha, Pramod Madushan, and Matheesha Pathirana, all of whom possess varying degrees of experience.
Meanwhile, Hasaranga's spot could be taken by left-arm spinning allrounder Dunith Wellalage. Another alternative could be leg-spinning allrounder Dushan Hemantha. Sri Lanka's opening match in the Asia Cup is scheduled against Bangladesh on Thursday. To progress to the Super 4 stage, they must avoid finishing last in a group that also includes Afghanistan.