Sri Lanka’s ODI skipper Upul Tharanga is in danger of losing his job ahead of the upcoming three-match series against the Men in Blue as the selectors look for alternatives despite not having many options available at this point. The southpaw was named the stand-in skipper when regular skipper Angelo Mathews was injured in South Africa in January and then took over on a permanent basis after Mathews stepped down after the unexpected series defeat at the hands of Zimbabwe.
Under Tharanga, the Islanders have suffered three 5-0 whitewashes this year against South Africa, India and Pakistan. The annihilation faced at the hands of India and South Africa have jeopardised their direct qualification for the 2019 World Cup. During his tenure, he has also been suspended a couple of times for slow over-rate offences during the Champions Trophy and the home series against the Men in Blue.
Tharanga’s elevation as a skipper didn’t go down well with many experts and former players as he was never a natural leader. There was a feeling that the then Chairman of Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya promoted his former opening partner as Mathews’ successor. He has struggled to handle his troops despite maintaining an impressive individual record.
He has scored 860 runs in 22 ODI’s this year so far and is by Sri Lanka’s highest scorer this year with an average of 47 and two centuries to go with five half-centuries. The southpaw is the 8th leading run-getter in the world this year. Who will replace him hasn’t been finalised yet. Meanwhile, the option to bring back Mathews was also discussed, but the former skipper might be reluctant to take up the job again. Sri Lanka Cricket Board was criticised when they didn’t persuade with Mathews to continue when he stepped down in July.
Dinesh Chandimal who is the captain of the Test team might have been the ideal option, but he has struggled in limited overs format in the recent past despite being their best ODI batsman in 2015 and 2016. All-rounder Thisara Perera who led Sri Lanka during the T20Internationals against Pakistan which included a game in Lahore has an outside chance to take over the captaincy.
As per reports in Cricbuzz, Chandika Hathurusingha who is expected to become Sri Lanka’s head coach will be sought before a final decision on the skipper is made. The decision is expected to be taken with November 30. Following the Test series, India will compete in 3 ODI’s and as many T20I’s.