Shanaka’s team is traveling to Australia early to prepare for the circumstances there after a camp in Kandy.
Around this time last year, Dasun Shanaka was gallantly extolling the virtues of his team’s chances in the T20 World Cup, but in truth, his words were more motivated by hope than by genuine confidence. He had added back then, “If our boys play to their abilities, I feel they can go a long way in this tournament. For them, it did not turn out so well.
Earlier this month, Sri Lanka was in danger of being eliminated after being severely defeated by Afghanistan in the 2022 men’s Asia Cup opener. It was a happily ever after for that storyline. When we fast-forward to the present, Shanaka’s words hardly change, but our sense of belief in them has significantly changed.
In the final press conference before the team’s departure for Australia for the 2022 T20 World Cup, he told a crowded media room at the Sri Lanka Cricket headquarters on Friday, “If we make the right decisions on the day and execute our plans, I’m positive we can come out victorious.” Even in the previous World Cup, I thought we had the quality to at least reach the semifinals. The essential thing is your ability to perform and produce on the day. “The confidence level is obviously higher [than at the last World Cup], but my concern has always been the process.”
Two weeks before their inaugural World Cup first-round match against Namibia on October 16, the Sri Lankan team is leaving for Australia. In the final week of September, they were in Kandy at a training camp with a focus on practical skills. Both indicate how much preparation this Sri Lankan team is doing.
In Australian conditions, this additional game time—critical time—can only be beneficial. After taking over about six months ago, head coach Chris Silverwood, who could not have imagined a better start to his tenure in the position, explained how he intended to use this time to concentrate on abilities that would be particularly useful in Australia.
To ensure we can succeed on Australian wickets and that we have the ability to support our goals, he stated, “we’re still working on yorkers with the bowling.” “Before the game against Namibia, we’ll play a few warm-up games and simulate matches amongst ourselves to make sure we can control the training atmosphere.
The first stage in capitalizing on the success of the Asia Cup is determining the areas that still require development. Although they set a total and successfully defended it in the final, Sri Lanka’s Asia Cup victory was mostly based on winning the toss and chasing. This is not quite within their comfort zone.
Success not only generates anticipation but also self-belief. Finally, a Sri Lankan team departs for a significant event filled with sincere enthusiasm and, dare we say it, optimism.
Shanaka must recover from the high of their Asia Cup victory and return to the foundations that propelled them there.
The fastest trio of fast bowlers Sri Lanka has ever fielded at a major competition included fast bowlers Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, and the teenage Dilshan Madushanka. Each is capable of speeds beyond 140kph. Although Shanaka verified the first two had left the camp in good shape, the first two’s fitness had been a source of some concern.
Overall, the atmosphere in the Sri Lankan camp is understandably the best it has been in a long time. Silverwood is especially impressed with the players’ camaraderie and desire to “learn, adapt, and try new things.” “I’ve heard a lot of people remark about how well-coordinated the guys are, and you can really sense that on the inside, too.”
While still far from being the finished product, this Sri Lankan team that is traveling to Australia appears to be progressively becoming something more than the one that traveled to the UAE both last year and last month.