We are now almost a week away from witnessing Sri Lanka vs India. BCCI secretary Jay Shah has confirmed that the three-match ODI series will begin from July 18.
The tour was originally scheduled to kick off on July 13 (Tuesday), but the coronavirus cases in the Sri Lankan camp forced a delay. Sri Lanka’s batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst G T Niroshan had contracted the virus. They are now in self-isolation.
“The decision to revise the itinerary was taken on the basis of health advisory after the Sri Lankan contingent detected two COVID positive cases,” the BCCI said.
Shikhar Dhawan-led India will play three ODIs and three T20Is. This is the first time the left-hander will captain the national side.
Shikhar Dhawan (c), Prithvi Shaw, Devdutt Padikkal, Ruturaj Gaikwad, Suryakumar Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Nitish Rana, Ishan Kishan (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Yuzvendra Chahal, Rahul Chahar, K Gowtham, Krunal Pandya, Kuldeep Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (v/c), Deepak Chahar, Navdeep Saini, Chetan Sakariya.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, hasn’t yet confirmed their squad.
Ranatunga calls India’s squad ‘B team’
Sri Lanka’s World Cup-winning captain Arjuna Ranatunga blasted the SL board after knowing that India has excluded some key players like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Rishabh Pant from the touring side.
“The Indian squad that came to Sri Lanka is not their best, it is a second-level team. Didn’t our sports minister or cricket administrators know this?” the 57-year-old asked.
“Sri Lanka may have gone down (in the rankings), but as a cricketing nation we have an identity, we have dignity, we should not be sending our best to play an Indian B team.”
The cricket legend feels that the reason the Sri Lanka board okayed the tour was for financial benefits. “The secret behind agreeing to an Indian B team is TV rights. The board wants to make money from this tournament even if it means pitching our players against a B team,” Ranatunga said.
His statement has drawn flak from his fellow Sri Lanka cricketers as well as other legends of the game.
Former Pakistan player Danish Kaneria too went in on Ranatunga on his YouTube channel. “First of all, Mr. Ranatunga. You have made this statement to remain in limelight. Because only India is a team right now that have a pool of 50-60 players, strong enough to field two different sides,” Kaneria asserted.
“And even in this team, players such as Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Hardik Pandya keep representing India consistently.”
Prediction for Sri Lanka vs India series
Despite missing out on some big names, the visitors are likely to clinch both series. India has tremendous depth when it comes to batting as well as bowling.
Indian players are prepared to take on top-notch international sides, courtesy of a sublime domestic structure and of course, the Indian Premier League.
The best instance of it was the Australia tour where India won the Border-Gavaskar trophy 2-1 without Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, and Mohammad Shami.