Kusal Mendis, Sri Lanka’s newly appointed captain, has vowed to maintain his aggressive batting style despite taking over the leadership role in the midst of the World Cup. This change in leadership came about due to Dasun Shanaka, the previous captain, being ruled out of the tournament due to a thigh muscle injury he sustained during a match against Pakistan. The 32-year-old Shanaka is expected to take three weeks to recover, and Chamika Karunaratne has been named as his replacement in the squad.
Mendis, who is currently one of the top scorers in the tournament with a total of 198 runs from two games, will lead his team for the first time in Monday’s match against Australia. Both teams are yet to secure a win in the group stage.
“I am very happy to have the captaincy and I hope to play in the future in the same way as I have played so far, because I don’t have anything to change,” Mendis shared with reporters on Sunday. He added, “I’ve had previous experience as a captain. I’ve also held the position of captain in practice matches here.”
Regarding his batting strategy, Mendis stated, “Speaking about my batting, I aim to maintain this level of performance. I prefer playing in a manner that aligns with the team’s requirements.”
Mendis acknowledged that the team would feel the absence of all-rounder Shanaka, calling it a “significant disadvantage”. He said, “As a team, we deeply regret his absence. Moreover, when we previously lost Wanidu Hasaranga, we made an addition to the team to compensate for his absence.”
Sri Lanka will take on Australia on 16 October at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow. Australia will be coming off back to back defeats, much like Sri Lanka. With the margin of error narrowing, both sides will be desperate to win a game.