Sri Lanka’s seam-bowling spearhead Dushmantha Chameera is out of the Men’s T20 World Cup, after suffering a grade two tear in the calf of his landing foot. Chameera pulled up while running in to bowl the last over of his spell against UAE on Tuesday, and immediately hobbled off the field wincing.
The injury is likely connected to the ankle and calf complaints that had kept him out of the Asia Cup, with medical staff also suspecting that the cold weather in Geelong aggravated the issue. In fact, Chameera may be out of contention for much longer than just the T20 World Cup.
“He’s out of the tournament definitely, but he might also use the break to do the ankle surgery that he’s been needing,” Arjuna de Silva, head of SLC’s medical advisory committee, told ESPNcricinfo. “The previous injuries were on the anterior part of the ankle, but this is in the calf. It’s a grade-two tear.”
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Pramod Madushan, the other frontline seamer who played on Tuesday, will also miss Thursday’s vital match against Netherlands with a hamstring complaint. “But clinically, he’s not too bad. He could be okay in about a week,” de Silva said.
Danushka Gunathilaka, who was out of Tuesday’s match with a hamstring problem of his own, has the mildest case of the three. He is set to undergo a fitness test ahead of Thursday’s game, and may be available for that match. Gunathilaka “will be fine”, in the words of captain Dasun Shanaka.
Sri Lanka are likely to call up more replacements. The main reason for that is, having already lost left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka even before Chameera, they need to make sure their training nets remain of high quality without bowling their main fast bowlers into the ground. Shanaka even named the frontrunners for the role of these standbys.
“Kasun Rajitha, Asitha Fernando, Matheesha Pathirana,” Shanaka told the media. “So I don’t know the exact date when they will arrive. We are okay for the next game but as the tournament progresses we need to have a few more bowlers. At practices, we don’t want to waste away our main fast bowlers. It’s not finalised yet. Selectors are deciding, I think, definitely two or three fast bowlers will be here soon.”
Chameera’s loss is a substantial one for Sri Lanka. He has been the team’s go-to death bowler in the past two years and has also frequently made breakthroughs with the new ball. For Thursday’s match, with Madushanka and Madushan also out, Sri Lanka are without their top three seam options.
The only fast bowler among the reserves in Australia, Binura Fernando, has already been called up to the main squad after the injury to Madhushanka. Fernando and Lahiru Kumara will both very likely play against Netherlands.