Dilshan's World T20 participation in doubt
Tillakaratne Dilshan has until March 19 to recover sufficiently from a thumb fracture or risk being recalled from the World Twenty20, chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya has said. Dilshan sustained a blow to his right thumb while batting during the second ODI against Bangladesh on February 20, and had since been recovering in Sri Lanka.
Dilshan will travel with the World Twenty20 squad to Bangladesh on Sunday, but the selectors will be forced to name a replacement if he cannot play the March 19 warm-up against West Indies, Jayasuriya said.
"If Dilshan can't play that practice match, I think he is out, unfortunately," he said. "That's what we have discussed with physio. The cut-off date for him will be the 19th [March] practice match. He is bowling and fielding. But while batting he seems to be struggling a bit.
"Generally, as a cricketer, you're always carrying a niggle. If you take the current squad of 15 players, about ten of them have some niggles. But you should at least be able to play through the pain."
Jayasuriya said the selectors did not have a replacement on standby if Dilshan was to be recalled, but suggested Sri Lanka had sufficient cover. Mahela Jayawardene had opened the batting successfully during 2012's World Twenty20 and Lahiru Thirimanne was the top-scoring batsman during the recently-concluded Asia Cup, when he opened in Dilshan's stead.
"We have the options in the team to replace him at opener, since Thirimanne has been in good form," he said. "We have other seniors also. That won't be a problem.
"We have a few ideas about who can replace him in the squad as well. We had Chaturanga de Silva as the standby for Rangana Herath, who was injured, but now Herath is ready to play. If Dilshan is not coming we'll have to assess whether we need an allrounder or an opener."
Jayasuriya affirmed Dinesh Chandimal's Twenty20 captaincy, despite Chandimal's mediocre record in the format, and poor run in limited-overs cricket over the past few months. Chandimal had been dropped for the last two matches of the Asia Cup.
"Chandimal as a captain in T20s has done well and has won tournaments," Jayasuriya said. "He wasn't among the runs recently, and during the one-day tournament, the selectors took a decision to leave him out and go with Ashan Priyanjan. We sent the message that he needs to correct his mistakes, improve mentally and come out of the bad trot - that's why we left him out. But as a captain I know he has done well in T20s and he has got lot of support from Lasith Malinga. He's a good player and as selectors we have to really back him 100% as the team's captain."
Significant contributions from Sri Lanka's young players during the Asia Cup campaign were particularly encouraging, Jayasuriya said, but he was also pleased with the versatility of several players in the squad. Thisara Perera, Angelo Mathews and Nuwan Kulasekara all bowl reliable seam and are also capable of closing out an innings with the bat, while Dilshan, Sachithra Senanayake and Priyanjan can deliver spin, as wells as score runs.
"We have to use our allrounders wisely, according to the game," he said. "I feel the ball might keep low in Bangladesh - in Chittagong will keep it even lower. We have to take a decision whether we are going into the game with more spinners or seaming allrounders. When we have won competitions, in the past, our style is that we create pressure by squeezing the runs. That has been our strength.
"I'm very happy as a selector to see the players performing. We have a strong team."
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here