Lasith Malinga and Sri Lanka get ready to square off against Bangladesh in Asia Cup opener

Ashish Peter 14/09/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
All eyes will be on Lasith Malinga's impending return.

The 14th edition of the Asia Cup is set to get underway in the UAE on Saturday with Bangladesh taking on Sri Lanka in the tournament opener.

The Dubai International Cricket stadium will be the setting for the Group B clash between the two teams who are separated by just eight rating points in the ICC ODI rankings.

Sri Lanka are the second most successful team in the tournament’s history with five titles to their name while Bangladesh are searching for their maiden Asia Cup trophy.

INJURIES RAVAGE BOTH TEAMS

The two teams are both dealing with injury concerns of their own coming into the tournament opener. For Bangladesh, star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan is nursing a finger injury for which he has deferred the surgery until the completion of the tournament. Opening batsman Tamim Iqbal is also struggling with a bruised finger with Mominul Haque called up to the squad as backup.

The third injury relates to off-spinner Nazmul Hossain who is recovering from an injury to his bowling hand.

Sri Lanka too are not without their troubles in the injury department with opener Danushka Gunathilaka being sent home after sustaining a lower-back problem. In his place, 27-year-old Shehan Jayasuriya has been called up as a replacement. The islanders have already lost the services of regular skipper Dinesh Chandimal who had been ruled out of the tournament due to a finger injury. In his stead, wicketkeeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella has been called up the squad with all-rounder Angelo Mathews being named as the stand-in skipper.

Both Tamim Iqbal (l) and Shakib (r) are struggling with injuries.

Both Tamim Iqbal (l) and Shakib (r) are struggling with injuries.

LASITH MALINGA COMEBACK ON THE HORIZON

Plenty of heads were turned after veteran Lasith Malinga was named in the Sri Lanka squad for the tournament.

The 35-year-old’s last appearance in Sri Lanka colours came in a T20I against India more than a year ago. The clamour for his return had been growing in recent times and his international comeback is expected to grab plenty of eyeballs. It remains to be seen if Mathews picks the veteran pacer in the playing XI but if he does, expect those famous searing yorkers and slower balls to make an appearance soon.

Malinga did not play in the last edition of the IPL after being moved to a bowling mentor’s role with his franchise Mumbai Indians. He will not be short of match practice for the Asia Cup though given his recent participation in the Sri Lanka Cricket T20 League for Kandy.

Malinga last played an ODI in September, 2017.

Malinga last played an ODI in September, 2017.

EXPECTED TEAMS

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Liton Das, Mominul Haque,  Shakib Al Hasan, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mahmudullah, Mashrafe Mortaza (C), Mosaddek Hossain, Rubel Hossain, Mustafizur Rahman and Mehidy Hasan.

Sri Lanka: Kusal Perera , Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Angelo Mathews (C), Dhananjaya de Silva,  Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Dilruwan Perera, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, and Kusal Mendis.

VENUE – Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai

Time – 15:30 GST

Most popular

Ravi Shastri says India have requested for a couple of warm-up matches for Australia tour

Sudhir Gupta 14/09/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Ravi Shastri has come under fire after India's 1-4 loss to England.

India coach Ravi Shastri has stated that he has requested the BCCI to arrange two warm-up games for the team when they tour Australia at the end of the year.

The Indian team has received plenty of flak in recent times for their short-sighted approach with regards to warm-up matches in their overseas tours. In their tour of South Africa at the start of the year, the team did not play a single warm-up match before the three-Test series which they lost 1-2.

In the just concluded tour of England, India played only a single warm-up game against Essex ahead of the five-match Test series where they were handed a 1-4 defeat.

In an interview with ESPNCricinfo, Shastri pointed towards team India’s hectic international schedule as one of the reasons for scheduling so few warm-up matches.

“If you have two or three games against weaker sides we don’t mind because it is a game. But when you have a schedule as tight as this and when you have a memorandum of understanding that has already been formulated, with a choc-a-bloc calendar, there is very little you can do,” Shastri said.

Kohli and Co have been criticised for not playing enough warm-up games.

Kohli and Co have been criticised for not playing enough warm-up games.

“Now, we have requested for a couple of (warm-up) games in Australia before the Test series. But is there space (to play those matches)? That is the question,” he added.

When asked if the team was averse to the idea of playing warm-up matches, Shastri replied: “Why would we be? You can only see the results. Every time after the second Test we have improved. You can still get better. But why can’t we be in that position in the first Test match?”

“Ideally we would want two three- or four-day games before a Test series. But do you have the time? For example, we have a T20 series in Australia preceding the Test series. There is a 10-day gap before the first Test. These are things that have been approved earlier. It is not in our control,” Shastri continued.

India skipper Virat Kohli had recently questioned the utility of playing warm-up matches himself.

India’s tour of Australia gets underway in November this year with a three-match T20I series to start things off. The T20s will be followed by a four-match Test series and three ODIs.

Most popular

PCB chairman Ehsan Mani backs chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq over nepotism allegations

Waseem Ahmed 14/09/2018
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Inzamam (c) has been backed by the PCB over the controversy.

Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani has thrown his support behind chief selector Inzamam-ul-Haq after the former skipper was accused of indulging in nepotism by Abdul Qadir.

The controversy arose after Qadir alleged that Inzamam had made a call to Pakistan U19 chief selector Basit Ali to push for the inclusion of his son in the team.

Following the allegations by the former Pakistan leg-spinner, Inzamam took to Twitter to refute them on Tuesday.

In a video message posted on the social media site, the Pakistan selection chief said:  “I strongly refute this unfounded and malicious claim.”

“For the record, no one from the junior selection committee was approached and there is no truth in this. I am taking this matter quite seriously and will be meeting PCB chair for an open enquiry on this matter tomorrow.”

The allegations had also been denied by the Pakistan U19 team’s selection chief Basit Ali.

“I would like to request the PCB to take legal action against those who are spreading such rumours,” he said.

According to a report by ESPNCricinfo, the meeting between the PCB chief and Inzamam took place on Thursday upon the latter’s request. In the meeting, the PCB chief is understood to have assured the chief selector over his complete support and backing with regards to the allegations.

Most popular