Malinga likely to make it to the Asia Cup, says Labrooy
Sri Lanka’s chief cricket selector Graeme Labrooy says their main aim is to complete the culling process by the end of the England series and have a working pool of about 25 players who would work earnestly towards the main task in May next year – the World Cup 2019.
“We have been working with about 30-35 players during the past few series and been taking a very close look at all the players ascertaining their pluses and minuses.
“In reality we selectors work as a unit – first is the coach and his strategy. Then come the captains – we get their views on how the players should be lined up for selection.
If we are playing a series where spinners come in to play then the accent will be on the spin department and if the need of the hour is fast bowlers with green tops, we cater to that call.
Then if the wicket is full of runs, then there will be more batters in the larder for the team selectors to agree upon their final XI.
So, it’s always a case of catering to the needs of the cricket management. So most of the time we meet each others views more than 80 per cent; these are haphazard or isolated decisions.
We pick the 15 or the 16 and they pick the eleven to play on that particular day”.
However, the criteria might change from case to case, Labrooy said.
He said “For instance we wanted to see how Chandimal would cope with the T-20 segment, a point that he had faltered at one point of time. He was played in the T-20s and came up with flying colours.
“It is the same with Lasith Malinga. At one juncture he was not ready to play 50 overs. We tried quite a few fast bowlers down the line.
We were concentrating more on World Cup hopefuls so we rested Malinga and concentrated on younger players. Now we have brought in the experience of Malinga and we are looking as to how he is faring in the current T-20 tournament.
Then if his fitness levels and form are okay he will definitely be a part of the Asia Cup tournament”.
“Like that, we are looking at quite a few players in the bigger picture. For instance Jeevan Mendis, Vanindu Hasaranga and Jeffrey Vandersay – right arm spin, Lakshan Sandakan who bowls slow chinaman are under the microscope before a decision is taken about their chances of making it to the World Cup pool.
In the shorter version of the game, during the Asia Cup tournament which will begin on September 15, Sri Lanka will play two matches against Bangladesh and Afghanistan before moving to the knock-out stage.
Thereafter during the England series the Lankans will play five ODIs and three T-20s at which point the World Pool of 25 will be decided upon.
Thereafter, the Lankans will play three ODIs and a T-20 game against New Zealand and five ODIs and three T20s against South Africa before the World Cup in February 2019.
When asked about some players being unhappy about the selections for the ongoing T20 tournament.
Labrooy said they had a look at several seniors with international exposure and some of them have not contributed consistently as expected and they will not be making a comeback within the next 6 to 7 months.
“Yes, we had to leave out some experienced players. For instance Chamara Kapugedera has been given more than his fair share of chances without much success.
Then Seekuge Prasanna is taking part in the county T20s in England and we have given the green light to continue.
Then there is another player who requested to return to the island by August 9, but, he comes back on the August 16 so his name was left out from this segment of the T20s.”