ICC World Cup 2023 Sri Lanka Squad

Sri Lanka's squad has a lot of potential to make an upset in the 2023 World Cup if their batters live up to the occasion.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip Mohanty

Last Updated: 2023-10-05

Sri Lanka, the one-time champions and a qualifying team, enter the tournament on a high note, having recently won 13 consecutive ODIs. They have finally found a settled team that performed cohesively to win the ICC Cricket World Cup qualifier convincingly. However, they reached the Asia Cup finals only to face a brutal defeat by India.

Sri Lanka Squad for 2003 World Cup

  1. Dasun Shanaka (c)
  2. Kusal Mendis (wk, vc)
  3. Dimuth Karunaratne
  4. Pathum Nissanka
  5. Sadeera Samarawickrama
  6. Charith Asalanka
  7. Dhananjaya de Silva
  8. Dushan Hemantha
  9. Dilshan Madushanka
  10. Matheesha Pathirana
  11. Kasun Rajitha
  12. Maheesh Theekshana
  13. Lahiru Kumara
  14. Kusal Perera
  15. Dunith Wellalage

One of the Weakest Batting Unit in the World Cup

Sri Lanka's overall batting has been inconsistent, particularly the opening combination. During the World Cup qualifiers, the batting average of the unit witnessed an upsurge against lower-ranked teams. However, the performance took a nosedive during the recently concluded Asia Cup. Sri Lanka's overall batting average since 2022 is 32.7, ranking 8th among all participating teams in the World Cup.


The revamped top order, with the return of Dimuth Karunaratne and Kusal Perera performing well in the Asia Cup, has provided good starts to Sri Lanka. Settled opener Pathum Nissanka has scored 1310 runs since January 2022, the most for any Sri Lankan batter in the period. Making his comeback in the one-day format after more than 2 years, Karunaratne carried his Test batting form into the shorter format with 534 runs across 14 innings.

Vice-captain Kusal Mendis has the ability to bat at any position in the top and middle order and can also open the innings, so can Sadeera Samarawickrama, the team's backup wicketkeeper. Mendis has scored 987 runs in 32 innings, with his best performance of 92 coming against Afghanistan in the Asia Cup. Sadeera's average is just under 40, with his 477 runs being scored at a strike rate of 92.44. He has hit 4 half-centuries since last year.

The top order appeared to be in fine form, but the average has since dropped to 37.4 for openers, 37.7 for the top 3, 28.4 for the middle order, and just above 30 for the complete batting order (openers to number 7).


Sri Lanka has tried 6 batters for the important number 4 role and has settled with Sadeera Samarawickrama for the World Cup. The batting average for Sri Lanka's number 4 since 2022 is 29.3, the worst among participating nations in the World Cup, along with Australia. Samarawickrama, in 12 innings, has scored 458 runs at an average of 41.63 and has hit 4 fifties, with a best of 93 to his name. He still needs to improve and convert his starts into big scores for his team to flourish in the World Cup.

Hasaranga’s Absence Weakens the All-round Ability

Skipper Dasun Shanaka is performing admirably with both bat and ball. He has scored 489 runs at a healthy strike rate of 88.1, batting in the lower middle order. Fitness issues prevented him from bowling at full throttle during this period, as his record of 15 wickets in 26 innings doesn't do justice to the skill he possesses. The team will miss the services of Wanindu Hasaranga, who is sidelined due to injury.

Dhananjaya de Silva and Charith Asalanka are also named in the squad as two all-rounders who can adapt to various positions in the batting order and provide tidy off-spin bowling. Asalanka boasts an impressive average of 41.13, having accumulated 946 runs in 28 innings during this period. He also picked up 4 wickets for just 18 runs against a strong Indian lineup in the Asia Cup, showcasing his handy off-breaks.

Dhananjaya, on the other hand, has contributed with both bat and ball, amassing 526 runs and claiming 16 wickets since January 2022. Making his debut in the World Cup qualifier, Dushan Hemantha has featured in only 3 ODIs thus far. He bowls leg-spin and bats in the lower middle order at a healthy strike rate. His international record includes 35 runs in 2 innings and 2 wickets at an economy of 5.21. Although not an automatic choice in the XI, he might feature on spin-friendly tracks.

Chamika Karunaratne is not part of the final 15 but will travel to India as a reserve player. Batting in the lower order, Chamika has scored 243 runs and taken 18 wickets since January 2022 in 13 matches.

Best Bowling Unit in the World Cup

Lahiru Kumara is back at the peak of his powers, forming an excellent fast bowling trio with Kasun Rajitha and left-arm seamer Dilshan Madushanka. Dushmantha Chameera misses out due to injury, making way for Matheesha Pathirana. Maheesh Theekshana, Sri Lanka’s second-highest wicket-taker after Wanindu in the World Cup qualifiers, will be a key part of the squad, along with Dunith Wellalage, who has made a big name for himself with both bat and ball. The youngster performed brilliantly in the recently concluded Asia Cup.


Bowling is the forefront of what has made Sri Lanka a successful one-day team in recent times. They dismissed their opponents in 14 consecutive matches. The streak ended in the Asia Cup match against Pakistan, where they took 7 Pakistani wickets before rain curtailed the match, reducing it to 42 overs a side.

The Sri Lanka bowling attack ranks joint first with India in terms of strike rate since January 2022, picking up a wicket every 28.9 deliveries. Lahiru Kumara's recent injury has slightly hampered their strike rate in the first powerplay. They have taken 53 wickets in that stage at a strike rate of 36.9. Only the Indian bowling attack has taken wickets more frequently in the middle phase; Sri Lanka is second with a strike rate of 31.4. Death bowling has improved as Sri Lanka boasts the third-best strike rate in that phase, with a wicket falling every 15th ball.

Lahiru Kumara has taken 16 of his 21 wickets since 2021 in the first powerplay. Kasun Rajitha has picked up 25 scalps as well, with 12 of them coming in the final 10 overs of an innings. The team will miss Hasaranga dearly, as he has the most wickets in the middle stage with 24 scalps at an average of 21.1. The next best is Theekshana with 24 middle-over wickets, and Dunith Wellalage with 17 of them.

Wellalage had a brilliant Asia Cup, where he played ahead of the injured Hasaranga. He picked up his first ODI 5-wicket haul against a strong Indian lineup and became the first spin bowler in the world to pick up the first 4 Indian wickets to fall in an innings. He has also contributed with the bat in the lower order, amassing 195 runs with a strike rate of 77.6. In the same super 4 game against India, he recorded his best ODI batting score of 42*.

With Theekshana, Wellalage, Hemantha, de Silva, and Asalanka filling the significant void left by Hasaranga in the spin department, it's between Dilshan Madushanka and Matheesha Pathirana to fill Dushmantha Chameera’s shoes in the pace bowling department.

Madushanka has 10 wickets in 6 games, while Pathirana has had a better run in the XI due to his experience in playing franchise cricket in different conditions. Bowling with a slingy action that reminds us of another Lankan great, Lasith Malinga, he has picked up 15 wickets in 10 games, with his best figures being 4/32 against Bangladesh in a crucial Asia Cup match. With his impeccable Yorkers and ability to bowl bumpers as well, he becomes an important cog in the middle and death overs for Sri Lanka.

Dillip Mohanty
Dillip MohantySports Editor

Dillip has over two decades of experience in creating sports content. As the Sports Editor of SportsBoom, Dillip brings in a wealth of experience and expertise to the role. Dillip has worked with leading sports broadcasters and sports web content portals in Asia. He is an adept storyteller and has a special liking for data stories. He has a keen interest in data analysis and uncovering insights from large datasets. He loves to tell the story with rich and compelling data visualisation.