“We’re amid the best bowling teams in the world of cricket,” Hasaranga’s SL bowling coach claims of the team’s possibilities in the World Cup

While both sides compete to prepare for the main event, Afghanistan is seeking to improve their fielding.

While the Men’s T20 World Cup in June may only be a little over three months away, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka only have six competitive matches remaining before the competition begins. Three of those matches will take place over the course of the next week, beginning on Saturday with the first T20I in Dambulla.

"We're amid the best bowling teams in the world of cricket," Hasaranga's SL bowling coach claims of the team's possibilities in the World Cup

This implies that any imperfections that surface or necessary adjustments to the game plan take on greater importance; in other words, now is the moment to polish your work; there won’t be much time left for much else. Furthermore, Sri Lanka will probably prioritize the makeup of their team.

Four front-line bowlers, six hitters, and Wanindu Hasaranga as the lone all-rounder made together a victorious lineup in the just ended One-Day Internationals. However, Sri Lanka has a tendency to favor more all-round players in the Twenty20 format. Players with bat and ball capabilities include Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, and Dasun Shanaka. Captain Hasaranga is aware that teams must be ready for any situation, since World Cup surfaces in the Caribbean and the USA are expected to fluctuate from batting-friendly to occasionally slow and low, reminiscent to subcontinental wickets.

“We observed in the ODIs that fielding a single all-around player was effective. We are able to play that way when we are on strong wickets. When they are aware of a good wicket, the batsmen are more confident. On the eve of the first T20I, he stated, “I would very much like to play like that in T20s too. “There is also a school of thought on whether or not we require an additional bowling option because I bowl four overs in addition to his batting.

Therefore, the strategy must take into account the kind of wickets we’re playing on; it must be tailored to them. When we play these games, we should be considering the upcoming World Cup.”

The final two T20 World Cup matches for Sri Lanka were disappointing due to injuries and general underperformance. Even if they did win a T20 Asia Cup in between, the format’s irregularity has been a recurrent issue. Hasaranga is certain that Sri Lanka’s bowling attack, in particular, can match the finest in the world when everyone is well.

“We have some of the best bowling outfits among the teams in the world of cricket. Look at the rankings; Maheesh and I are in the top ten. Dushmantha Chameera’s injury was unfortunate because he should also be present. However, Binura [Fernando] has taken his position, and Nuwan Thushara and Matheesha [Pathirana] are also present. We are aware of those two’s caliber. There’s Dilshan Madushanka as well.

We have a decent selection of bowlers, so we need to discover how to bowl precisely when we play on good surfaces, particularly in Twenty20s. We’ve bowled on decent wickets in the past, so I believe that bowlers will be the difference makers in T20 matches.

"We're amid the best bowling teams in the world of cricket," Hasaranga's SL bowling coach claims of the team's possibilities in the World Cup

There’s a fair likelihood that throughout these next six games, we’ll play on wickets comparable to those we’ll play on during the World Cup. We’ll use that information to try and determine how our combination of bowlers can win a game.”

Afghanistan has an opportunity to further enhance their already established reputation during the next World Cup. They have won significant matches in their past outings, and in the last year’s ODI World Cup, they defeated three past world champions en route to qualifying for the 2025 Champions Trophy by placing in the top eight.

They are aiming for their best result to yet in a big competition, with T20s—possibly their strongest format—now in the spotlight.

“I believe that many people didn’t think of Afghanistan as a strong side prior to the World Cup last year. However, what we accomplished was a good response to anybody, particularly to those who believed Afghanistan was merely a T20 team, according to assistant coach Raees Ahmed of Afghanistan. “However, our players and I put in a lot of work as Full Members. We want to carry on performing the way we did throughout the World Cup.

“This will benefit the team because the majority of our players—we have eight or nine players participating in the IPL—play for other teams throughout the globe. Afghanistan won’t be an easy opponent to defeat, and we might finish in the top four or five. Every squad that faces Afghanistan in the World Cup will second-guess themselves.”

They will, however, need to make rapid progress in one area: fielding. Afghanistan dropped a number of catches in the recent ODI series, many of which may have been game-changing in hindsight.

“If we want to defeat the most formidable opponents, we need to put in more effort in this area. If you have a strong fielding side, it will benefit the squad and provide some wonderful momentum. Yes, we ought to devote a lot of time to this area of work. In all honesty, as a fielding side, we’re way behind. However, we will work on it, we have time, and we will overcome that shortcoming.”

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