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Asia Cup 2023: “Injuries Beyond Control,” States Sri Lanka Captain Dasun Shanaka

Sri Lanka’s cricket team faces injuries to key players ahead of Asia Cup, but Captain Dasun Shanaka remains hopeful that other players will step up in their absence.

Sri Lanka’s cricket team has been grappling with a string of injuries to key players in the lead-up to the ongoing Asia Cup. Addressing the issue, Captain Dasun Shanaka stated on Wednesday that the team couldn’t control such crises but expressed optimism that other players would step up to fill the void left by the absentees in the continental tournament. The six-time champions are set to commence their Asia Cup campaign against Bangladesh, but they will have to navigate the challenge without the services of four crucial players – Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, and Dilshan Madhushanka.

Shanaka spoke during a pre-match press conference, acknowledging the absence of experienced players due to injuries: “We can’t have control over injuries. You know the players who unfortunately missed out – Hasaranga, Chameera… they are big players, experienced players. But we have a young side and this will be a good experience for them and we are looking forward to the tournament.”

Despite the setbacks, Shanaka conveyed his confidence in the team’s potential to make a mark in the Asia Cup. He referred to a similar situation in the 2022 Asia Cup where Sri Lanka entered as underdogs but eventually secured the trophy despite an initial loss to Afghanistan: “Last time (in the 2022 Asia Cup) also we went in as underdogs and lost our first game against Afghanistan. But we still managed to finish with the trophy. There is no question about where we are sitting at the moment and about the team’s balance, so we are looking forward to the tournament.”

Sri Lanka’s journey will continue beyond the Asia Cup as they are scheduled to travel to Pakistan for a match against Afghanistan in Lahore. Shanaka downplayed concerns about the hectic travel schedule, highlighting the team’s prior experience during last year’s T20 World Cup: “We were in the same situation during last year’s (T20) World Cup. That’s how, I think international cricket is played and we are used to it. It can be a worry but we are still managing it.”

Emphasizing the significance of playing competitive cricket ahead of the ICC ODI World Cup scheduled in India from October 5 to November 19, Shanaka stressed that Sri Lanka’s historical performance in World Cups and Asia Cup underscored the importance of delivering strong performances in preparation for the upcoming World Cup: “We know the dominance of India and Pakistan in Asia. But Sri Lanka have a good history of playing well in World Cups and Asia Cup. So, it is important for Sri Lanka to play good, competitive cricket going into the World Cup.”

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