Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad: Who’s in and who’s out?

A few months ago, Sri Lanka as a nation was going through a torrid time, yet their cricket team provided a distraction for those in crisis. The island nation had even more reasons to celebrate as Sri Lanka won the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier, cementing their place in the upcoming ICC ODI World Cup 2023. Now, focus has turned to the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad, and the ones who make the cut in September.

The Lankan Lions were clinical in the Qualifiers recently. They remained unbeaten with comprehensive victories, finishing with a comfortable win against the Netherlands by 128 runs in the final. Sri Lankan batters and bowlers dominated the tournament, and at present, things are looking up for the side.

Yes, Sri Lanka has struggled in the recent past when it comes to ICC tournaments. They haven’t performed as a team, but the upcoming World Cup promises a lot for Sri Lanka. So, let's dive deep and look into the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad.

Sri Lanka’s ODI World Cup squad

Taking into account recent form, with a few minor changes or forced changes, Sri Lanka has an identical squad to that of the ICC qualifiers.

Specialist Batters

These are the specialist batters in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad:

  1.     Pathum Nissanka

Pathum Nissanka was the second-highest run-getter in the recently concluded World Cup Qualifiers. The right-handed opening batter scored 417 runs with two centuries and two fifties and confirmed his place in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad.

  1.     Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne is the most obvious name on this list. Well, he has been the top performer for Sri Lanka for a few years. He has excellent technique, and had a wonderful Qualifiers in Zimbabwe.

  1.     Charith Asalanka

Sri Lanka has played a total of 22 ODIs, including the final of the ICC Qualifier in 2023, and Charith Asalanka has been in the playing 11 in all of them. Asalanka does have a very good track record in the ODIs, so he seems to have confirmed his spot in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad.

Sri Lanka does not have many batters in their 15-player pool. Ergo, the above batters are sure-fire picks.

Wicket keepers

Sri Lanka is likely to select two wicketkeepers in their squad.

  1. Kusal Mendis

Kusal Mendis was an integral part of Sri Lanka’s 2019 World Cup squad, and the situation will remain the same in the upcoming World Cup as well. Kusal is a highly-rated wicketkeeper. He is gritty and can switch between attacking and defensive modes quite comfortably. This technically gifted player has plenty of experience and will look to utilise every ounce of it.

Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad
  1.  Sadeera Samarawickrama

Sadeera Samarawickrama and Kusal Mendis were the U-19 teammates. Kusal got an early start to his international career, while Sadeera played in the shadow of Kusal. Sadeera has scored 477 runs at an average of 39.75 in the ODIs played in 2023. The keeper-batter can open the innings as well.

3. Kusal Perera

Kusal Perera recently made his comeback to the Sri Lanka ODI team after a gap of two years Having already played a number of match-winning knocks, Perera has loads of experience. He is expected to play a key role for the Islanders.

All rounders

The all-rounders in Sri Lanka’s ODI World Cup squad are:

  1.     Dasun Shanaka

Dasun Shanaka’s name has been reverberating in the cricket world for a while now. He can hit the ball really hard, but at the same time, is mature enough to play it safe when the situation arises. Dasun bowls at a medium pace, but that gentle speed fools the batters. Dasun, as a skipper, led Sri Lanka to the winning medal of the ICC World Cup Qualifier.    

       2.      Dhananjaya de Silva

Dhananjaya de Silva has been around the Sri Lankan national team for a while now. He is perhaps the most experienced player in this pool of Sri Lankan players. Be it a Test match, an ODI, or a T20I, he can tweak the technique as per need. Not to forget his right arm in off-breaks. His bowling might not look threatening, but he has a knack for taking wickets, and does take them at important junctures.

3. Dunith Wellalage

Dunith Wellalage has been playing for the Sri Lanka over the last 12 months. Recently, he impressed one and all with his all-round performance in the Asia Cup Super-Four match against India in Colombo.

  1.     Chamika Karunaratne (Travelling Reserve)

Chamika Karunaratne is more of a bowling all-rounder. He bowls at a decent speed and can cause havoc if the day belongs to him. He made his mark in the year 2022, with both bat and ball in hand. However, in 2023, he has played just five matches out of 16, and inconsistency has been nagging him. Despite the lack of good numbers, it is expected that he will be in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad.

5. Dushan Hemantha

Dushan Hemantha was roped in as a replacement for Wanindu Hasaranga in Asia Cup 2023. In Hasaranga's absence, Hemantha is a part of Sri Lanka's World Cup squad as well. In three ODIs, Hemantha has picked up two wickets and scored 35 runs.

Specialist bowlers

There are as many as six specialist bowlers in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad.

  1. Maheesh Theekshana (spinner)

Maheesh Theekshana has been doing well in the white ball games. His right arm off-breaks have helped Sri Lanka immensely to win the World Cup qualifier. He took 21 wickets, becoming the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament.

  1.     Dilshan Madushanka

Dilshan Madushanka is a left-arm medium-fast bowler who has just come onto the scene in Sri Lankan colours. The left-arm bowler obviously adds versatility to the bowling line-up. Dilshan played four matches in the qualifiers and bagged eight wickets.    

       3.        Lahiru Kumara

Lahiru Kumara was ruled out of the qualifiers due to an unfortunate injury. But he is back now and bowling quite sharply. He has been around the Sri Lankan cricket circuit for a while and has pace plus an ability to swing the ball both ways.

  1.     Kasun Rajitha

Kasun Rajitha bowls cannonballs at the batters and can take wickets with sheer pace. Sri Lanka hasn’t had that kind of bowler for a while now. Yes, he can be expensive, and he sometimes loses control on the radar, but he has to be in the Sri Lanka ODI World Cup squad. He has played 15 ODIs in 2023 and has claimed 18 wickets. Out of those 18, three are from the qualifiers.

  1.     Matheesha Pathirana

Matheesha Pathirana's bowling action resembles that of the legendary Lasith Malinga. Obviously, that has created a kind of aura around him. He has a good pace and has nice control over the speed variations. A surprise yorker with Malinga-like action is devastating, and we say Sri Lanka must get him in their World Cup squad.

Probable Sri Lanka ODI World Cup 2023 playing 11

Considering various aspects like playing conditions, recent forms, and injury updates, the following could be the playing 11 for Sri Lanka in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023:

  1. Pathum Nissanka
  2. Dimuth Karunaratne
  3. Kusal Mendis (wicketkeeper)
  4. Sadeera Samarawickrama
  5. Charith Asalanka
  6. Dhananjaya de Silva
  7. Dunith Wellalage
  8. Dasun Shanaka (captain)
  9. Maheesh Theekshana
  10. Dushmantha Chameera
  11. Matheesha Pathirana

The batting department looks settled for Sri Lanka. Openers complement each other very nicely, as Karunaratne can hold one end while Nissanka can look to go at a higher strike rate. All-rounders like Shanaka, Wellalage, and de Silva give an all-important balance to the squad. 

So, considering their batting prowess and all-rounders, they are good to go on this front. But the question is, do they have the big-match temperament?

The Lankan Lions have spinners with all the variations and tricks. Indian pitches are going to suit them. So, there are no issues in the spin department as well. Injuries, inconsistencies, a lack of disciplined bowling, and most importantly, the absence of an out-and-out leader have made the fast-bowling department very fragile.

Despite winning the qualifiers, Sri Lanka does struggle when it comes to playing against teams like India, England, Australia, etc. They have their work cut out for them. Perhaps their fast bowlers' performance could decide their fate in the World Cup.

Bren GrayBren Gray

Bren is our resident Kiwi, and has been playing or watching sports down under in New Zealand for the better part of three decades. With 12+ years' experience as a professional writer, Bren loves to dive deep into all things cricket to bring the best betting analysis, predictions and news here at