“I want to win the series. I want to get off to a good start. Hopefully I can perform, help the team, and put the team in a winning position”. On a cursory look, these “wants” would seem to be of a young bloke, all prepped up for entering the arena of international sport, intending to do that which every sportsperson aims for: win games for its country.
But do not let these utterances deceive you, for they have come from a man who is into the second decade of an international career, is 41, and is still hanging around while others who came with him have all hung up their audacity long ago. Who can be young at 41? Chris Gayle. The one who still has the appetite to represent the nation. And not just that, because there is a “bigger picture” for Gayle: “… actually to get three T20 titles under my belt.”
Can his team, West Indies, be as gluttonous as they welcome cricket in the islands? The last West Indies hosted an international game was during Ireland’s tour in January 2020. Since then, they have embarked upon tours of England, New Zealand, and Bangladesh, however, a home series has remained elusive. With two ICC T20 World Cups in near sights, West Indies will not get a better chance to set the agenda than this series.
On the other side is Sri Lanka, who have had a rather tumultuous build-up of the series. Just days after being appointed as their bowling coach, Chaminda Vaas resigned from the position owing to a dispute over remuneration. They have also lost the services of Lahiru Kumara, who tested Covid-19 positive days before the departure for the series. Then, Dasun Shanaka, who was handed over the T20I captaincy, is yet to reach the islands, thanks to a delay in obtaining a US transit visa.
To add more miseries, Sri Lanka has been on a winless streak in T20Is since October 2019, when they defeated Pakistan 3-0 in their backyard. Since then, they have suffered losses against Australia (0-3), India (0-2), and their immediate rivals, West Indies (0-2), though, all away from home. In terms of victories, the year 2020 for them was merciless, as they underwent consecutive Test defeats: 0-2 against South Africa (away), and 0-2 against England (home).
In the absence of many of their first-choice players, Sri Lanka is almost certainly in for a tedious challenge. Although, there is still a silver lining, as coach Mickey Arthur managed to discover: “This is a real opportunity for them [young players] to get themselves into that eventual World Cup squad.”
Pitch and conditions
The Coolidge Cricket Ground will make its international debut as a venue, which means that there is nothing to look at in terms of the numbers. The venue has been used for domestic matches and to rely on the findings from there, there should be some assistance for the spinners.
Playing combination for WI vs SL
Apart from the inclusion of Chris Gayle, West Indies have also called up Fidel Edwards, who is coming into the national reckoning after a nine-year hiatus. Both Gayle and Edwards have been named alongside the regular members Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran, and Evin Lewis. There is an added sense of familiarity with Dwayne Bravo and Jason Holder coming inside.
With World Cup preparations in mind, a major missing cog in West Indies’ line up is Andre Russell, who is missing the series despite recovering from COVID-19, whereas Roston Chase, Sheldon Cottrell, Shimron Hetmyer, and Oshane Thomas have all been excluded from the white-ball fixtures due to their failure to reach the minimum fitness standards.
Predicted XI: Evin Lewis, Lendl Simmons, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard (C), Fabian Allen, Jason Holder, Dwayne Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Akeal Hossein/Obed McCoy, Alzarri Joseph
Sri Lanka has two uncapped batsmen in opener Pathum Nissanka and middle-order batsman Ashen Bandara, whereas 20-year-old pacer Dilshan Madushanka and spin all-rounder Ramesh Mendis are the uncapped bowlers in the squad. In the absence of Dashun Shanaka, Angelo Mathews has been named as their stand-in captain. Former skipper Dinesh Chandimal and spinner Akila Dananjaya are set to make a comeback, while Suranga Lakmal has been named as the replacement of Lahiru Kumara.
Predicted XI: Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Oshada Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal (WK), Angelo Mathews (C), Thisara Perera, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Nuwan Pradeep/Suranga Lakmal, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera
WI vs SL Head to Head
Played – 11 | West Indies – 6 | Sri Lanka – 5 | Tied/NR – 0
WI vs SL Broadcast Details
Match Timings – 3:30 AM IST (March 4)
Live Streaming – Fancode
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
- WI vs SL: 2nd ODI, Match Prediction – Who will win today’s match?
- When and Where to Watch West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Live Streaming, Match Preview, Timings, and Pitch Report for 2nd ODI
- ‘Cricket has gone bonkers’ – Cricketing world reacts to Danushka Gunathilaka getting out obstructing the field
- West Indies vs Sri Lanka: Danushka Gunathilaka gets out obstructing the field in the first ODI
- When and Where to Watch West Indies vs Sri Lanka, Live Streaming, Match Preview, Timings, and Pitch Report for 1st ODI