India v Sri Lanka, semi-final, Under-19 World Cup 2016 February 8, 2016

'Beating England in quarters give us the edge' - Asalanka


"Beating England was the best win for us. We did a good job with our bowling and fielding. We are in really good form." - Charith Asalanka © International Cricket Council

"I told [Dinesh] Chandimal that the present Under-19 side is better than the one he played in [2008]."

Sri Lanka Under-19s coach Roger Wijesuriya had a big smile on his face as he explained the quality of the present team that will face India in the semi-finals of the Under-19 World Cup on Tuesday.

Wijesuriya felt there's no shortage of talent now, as was the case when he was coach in 2008. "To tell you frankly, from our junior level there are a lot of talented cricketers who may come up," he said. "That's how it has been always. When I coached the Under-19 team in the 2008 World Cup, that's the lot is playing now - the Dinesh Chandimals and others. Out of 15 players, at least 11 players have played for Sri Lanka or Sri Lanka 'A'."

Those who played international cricket are Sachith Pathirana, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Dilshan Munaweera, Angelo Perera and Chandimal.

Wijesuriya said that before coming to Bangladesh, the Under-19s' players were also given pep-talks by some of Sri Lanka's most successful international stars. "Before we came here, we had a lot of sessions with a lot of senior players like Lasith Malinga, Kumar Dharmasena and Sanath Jayasuriya. In Sri Lanka, we are very close to each other. There is no boundary as such," he said.

The advice seems to have come handy for captain Charith Asalanka, as he has been one of the team's leading players, scoring two fifties in his 194 runs at 48.50 so far.

Shammu Ashan, Avishka Fernando, Vishad Randika, and Kaveen Bandara have all done a good job with the bat while legspinner Wanidu Hasaranga, left-arm spinners Thilan Nimesh and Damitha Silva and seamer Asitha Fernando have done it with the ball. Kamindu Mendis has had a fine all-round presence too.

Asalanka felt beating England in the quarter-final meant they had the edge over India, who crushed Namibia at the same stage.

"It is an advantage for us. India played Namibia in quarterfinals whereas we played England. They are such different teams. We know India's strengths and weaknesses. It will be advantageous for us. Beating England was the best win for us. We did a good job with our bowling and fielding. We are in really good form."

He also said that India can expect to face a lot of spinners, which means the pace bowlers would have little to do but be economical. "There is not much of support for pacers in these subcontinent pitches. Spinners need to bowl a major part of the overs. I tell the pacers to give me the basics--bowl economically. I tell spinners to take wickets and put pressure on the batsman. There is support from the pitch," he said.

Asalanka added that he knows when Kamindu Mendis will switch to left-arm orthodox or right-arm off-spin, and sets the field for the ambidextrous spinner. "He decides [what he wants to bowl]. When right-hander comes he bowls left-arm and when left-hander comes he bowls right-arm. I know what fields to set for him," he said.

Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent. @isam84

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Fictionaliser on February 9, 2016, 8:09 GMT

    From my observation watching Indian innings till 35 overs SL came across a pretty intense side with their accurate spin and charged up pace. The fielding was electric too. Bodes well for senior team. Was surprised to see Indians scoring 268 since it was difficult to hit on this pitch

  • S on February 9, 2016, 7:43 GMT

    Doesn't matter which team you beat in the last match. What matters is which team you have to beat in this match.

  • cool on February 9, 2016, 2:03 GMT

    Bating Eng should give a team edge when they are playing in England, Not in sub continent pitches where tourists struggle to cope up with spin. playing BD Pak or Nepal should give one the edge Not teams like Eng or SA. @ Electric loco, everyone knows where you come from, how your team was just ousted by WI. Plz be modest and stop acting like a neutral fan when you are not one.Thank you

  • Cricket on February 9, 2016, 1:50 GMT

    Asalanka has got this backwards.

  • sam on February 8, 2016, 20:58 GMT

    Honestly I felt current U-19 SL team have several potential senior international star cricketers. Asalanka, Kamindu Mendis, Avishka Fernando and AS Fernando are 4 guys who have impressed me the most. In fact more SL, Eng and WI players have impressed more than any one else. Alzarri Joseph is the only one who looks ready for international cricket. But nobody should be compared to the exceptional Sarfaraz Khan. He is just in a different league to other talented cricketers. Others are talented but he is like the kind of talent you need to become a Miandad or Richards (you also need hard work and not giving up which he needs to do to fulfill his talent). Unlike @Electric_Loco_Wap4 who never sees the bigger picture and only wants India to lose; I don't care who wins or who loses in tomorrow's game among these kids (sign of a true neutral and not a hypocrite) and hope these kids can express their talents in the future. Best of luck to all of these talented young cricketers for their future.

  • Khondker S on February 8, 2016, 18:06 GMT

    IND is very strong team but I feel SL will give them a tough time. Best wishes for SL from BAN.

  • kovaikarthik on February 8, 2016, 15:23 GMT

    Maxwell is a good example. He opened his mouth against India. The indians showed the right place where he belongs. so the same can be expected of this India u19 team. They wont take but the rest is assured.

  • manoj on February 8, 2016, 14:19 GMT

    @electric loco, if neutral fans` wishes had powers surely Aus would not have won 5 50-over world cups.

  • karthik on February 8, 2016, 13:59 GMT

    beating srilanka in srilanka in the tri series gives India a big edge

  • Gazi on February 8, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    India were the group champions,so they faced the lesser side,while you were 2nd best in your group behind Pakistan,so you had to face a stronger side in the quarterfinals.Why else would people like to finish top in their group during tournaments If they doesn't get such advantage???And anyways,the more vital fact is India will have more rest days for the semis and have beaten your team in 4 out of 5 matches in SL,while the other was washed out in youth ODI's.They have the form and mental edge going into the match against you on Tuesday.

  • No featured comments at the moment.