Sri Lanka rely heavily on Suranga Lakmal to produce the early breakthroughs with the new ball and he rarely lets the side down.
All members of Sri Lanka’s squad who were in Pakistan when they came under a terrorist attack have retired apart from Lakmal. Ten years later, Lakmal is still there in the mix, which speaks about his longevity. He has troubles passing security at airports as he still carries splinters in his body as a result of the shooting. He has to carry medical reports to prove that his case is genuine. Lakmal has delayed surgeries as medical experts say he will be out of cricket for at least six months after the operations.
Lakmal gives impeccable control with the new ball and gets the right-handers in trouble with the ball that cuts back in late. But once the ball loses shine, his effectiveness diminishes.
He was one of the rural talents to be picked up by SLC coaches. Hailing from the deep down south village of Hambantota, Lakmal was fast-tracked into the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team and a year later he toured with the senior side.
A proven leader, Tamil Union won the First Class title under his captaincy after several years. Despite impressive showings as captain, Sri Lanka were reluctant to appoint him captain. Handed the role due to the suspension of Dinesh Chandimal for ball tampering, Lakmal was impressive leading the Test side and went onto become the first Asian captain to win a Test match in Barbados in 2018. He was the first fast bowler to captain Sri Lanka in Tests.
Later that year, under his captaincy, Sri Lanka beat South Africa 2-0 at home and he remains one of the respected figures of the side.
A handy batsman, Lakmal can come up with useful contributions lower down the order, something essential in what is a long Sri Lankan tail.
Sri Lanka will be expecting him to provide early breakthroughs with the new ball during the World Cup.