Sri Lanka’s World Cup campaign is shrouded in uncertainty as two key players, Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmantha Chameera, face significant fitness challenges ahead of the tournament.
Hasaranga, the talented all-rounder, finds himself in a precarious situation after exacerbating a hamstring tear that has plagued him in recent days. The injury may potentially require surgery, casting doubt on his participation in the World Cup. Dr. Arjuna de Silva, the chair of SLC’s medical committee, revealed that Hasaranga initially suffered a grade 2 tear during the Lanka Premier League (LPL) but worsened it during the rehabilitation process.
Adding to the complexity, this is also a T-junction hamstring injury. Prior to his injury, Hasaranga had dominated the batting and bowling charts in the LPL and was regarded as crucial to Sri Lanka’s World Cup prospects. However, his recovery timeline is estimated at a minimum of 4-6 weeks, making his participation uncertain. While selectors may consider including him with hopes of his availability in the later stages of the round-robin phase, medical experts caution against this due to the considerable risk involved.
Chameera, the fast bowler, faces his own challenges as he recuperates from a pectoral injury. Currently, he is unable to bowl ten overs without experiencing discomfort. Chameera’s injury woes began before the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, and despite some recovery, he re-injured himself during the Lanka Premier League in August. He had also missed the T20 World Cup in Australia the previous year due to an ankle injury. While he has resumed bowling in the nets, his participation remains uncertain and fraught with risk.
In contrast, spinner Maheesh Theekshana, who suffered a hamstring strain during an Asia Cup match against Pakistan, is expected to recover in time for Sri Lanka’s opening World Cup game against South Africa on October 7. Fortunately, Theekshana’s grade 3 tear doesn’t involve the T-junction, instilling confidence in his timely return.
On a positive note, quicks Lahiru Kumara and Dilshan Madushanka, who were sidelined due to injuries and missed the Asia Cup, have regained their fitness. Kumara dealt with a recurring side strain, while Madushanka had torn his oblique muscle. This development adds depth and options to Sri Lanka’s squad.
Sri Lanka is yet to finalize its World Cup squad, but the departure for India is scheduled for September 26. The team faces a challenging decision regarding the inclusion of Hasaranga and Chameera, balancing their importance against the inherent risks associated with their fitness concerns.