In the case of Lasith Malinga, he was thrown into deep water during the so-called Top End tour in Australia in 2004. In the case of Ajanta Mendis, he was inserted into the lineup just before the Asian Cup and distinguished himself with six feints against India in the final when Sri Lanka won the trophy in 2008.
The same principle will apply to 20-year-old Matisha Patirana, who will make his ODI debut in a three-game series against Afghanistan that begins Friday.
Although Patirana has played just one Twenty20 International match, he is already a star, having played a key role for Chennai in a record fifth Indian Premier League title.
Patirana bowls with a unique all-round strike, and the Sri Lankan hopes he will cause a lot of trouble for the batters during the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe later this month. Sri Lanka, who won the World Cup in 1996 and were runners-up twice, must go through the qualifiers because of their fall in the International Cricket Council’s one-day rankings.
Afghanistan has no such problems, having automatically qualified for the main tournament later this year in India.
Bowling is Afghanistan’s forte: Three Afghan players are among the top 10 bowlers in the official ICC rankings. Rashid Khan will miss the first two games due to a lower back injury, but off-spinners Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi will enjoy the conditions in Hambantota.
Afghanistan also have left-arm spinner Noor Ahmed, who gave the Gujarat Titans team a lot of trouble during the IPL.
Although bowling is the team’s strength, Afghanistan also has some strong players.
Ibrahim Zadran showed that he is a future star during the ICC Under-19 World Cup and after moving to the senior team, he made three centuries in just eight one-day matches. Among them was a career-best 162, the highest score by an Afghan in an ODI.
Friday’s series-opening game will be the first international tournament to be held in Hambantota in more than three years.
The series was hastily organized after Sri Lanka failed to automatically qualify for the World Cup, and will give selectors one last look at some players before they submit a lineup to the ICC before June 10.
Sri Lanka has recalled its captain to thehe team of Dimuta KaRunaratne is a member of the team. Karunaratne was dismissed as ODI captain and removed from the 2021 squad. However, since batters cannot use their full quota of 50 overs often enough, the need for Karunaratne’s steady presence was palpable.
The hosts also called up fast bowler Dushmantu Chamira from the team, who returns after seven months following ankle surgery.
Sri Lanka: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Kusal Mendis (vice-captain) Patum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadira Samarawikrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Harith Asalanka, Vanindu Hasaranga, Mahish Tekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmanta Chamira, Matisha Patirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasoon Rajitha.
Afghanistan: Hashmatullah Shahidi (captain), Rahmat Shah (vice captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alihail, Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik.