In the recent warm-up match against Bangladesh, Sri Lankan batter Kusal Perera faced an untimely exit from the field due to a shoulder injury. The incident occurred during the 10th over of the game. Perera while opening the innings, had already scored an impressive 34 off 24 runs.
Perera’s decision to call for the physiotherapist hinted at the severity of his discomfort. This unfortunate turn of events comes as a setback for the Sri Lankan team. Perera had been aiming to regain his form through these warm-up games. Prior to this, he had participated in only two ODIs in 2023. He scored 17 off 8 in the match against Pakistan and was dismissed for a duck in the finals.
The timing of Perera’s departure suggests a precautionary measure by the team management. This move is possibly to avoid a prolonged absence and ensure his availability for the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup. In the 2019 edition, Perera emerged as Sri Lanka’s leading run-scorer. He scored 273 runs in seven games at an average of 39.
Sri Lanka faces additional challenges with a squad already grappling with injuries. Key players such as Wanindu Hasaranga and Dushmanatha Chameera are already ruled out of the tournament due to injuries. The absence of these star bowlers adds to the team’s concerns as they prepare for the 2023 ICC ODI World Cup.
Despite these setbacks, Sri Lanka demonstrated resilience in the Asia Cup, securing a notable victory against Pakistan to reach the finals. However, they dramatically faltered in the title clash, scoring a mere 50 runs and conceding an easy win to India.
The return of Perera becomes crucial for Sri Lanka, given his experience in previous World Cups and his ability to perform in sub-continental conditions. The team, led by Dasun Shanaka, is eager to avoid further injuries and build momentum for the upcoming World Cup.
While missing key players, Sri Lanka showcased determination against Pakistan, highlighting their capacity to fight back under pressure. Emerging talents like Dunith Wellalage, who impressed with a five-wicket haul against India, provide a glimmer of hope for Sri Lanka as they navigate the challenges leading up to the ICC ODI World Cup.