Former Indian cricketer Gautam Gambhir has stated that Sri Lanka is a dangerous T20I side and has urged India not to underestimate them in the upcoming series. The Dasun Shanaka-led team beat Pakistan in the final to win the title in the Asia Cup last year.
India will host a white-ball series against Sri Lanka, comprising three T20Is and as many ODIs. The Men in Blue will play the first T20I at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday, January 3. Hardik Pandya will lead the team in a shorter format, while Suryakumar Yadav will serve as his deputy.
During an interaction on the Star Sports show ‘Follow the Blues’, Gautam Gambhir stated that Sri Lanka have the skill, which was demonstrated in the Asia Cup. The former Indian opener feels that spinners Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana will pose a threat to the hosts.
“Sri Lanka are a formidable side in T20 cricket, that’s what they have shown in the Asia Cup. You can’t win the Asia Cup if you don’t have the talent. They have got individual brilliance,” Gautam Gambhir said.
“They have got the combination. They have got two world-class spinners. How many teams have two world-class spinners in Hasaranga and Theekshana, and they can bowl in different situations as well,” he added.
Hasaranga represented Sri Lanka in 19 T20Is last year and took 34 wickets, including 10 against India in seven games. Theekshana took 22 wickets in 22 T20Is in 2022, including one wicket against the Men in Blue.
Gambhir stated that the visitors have destructive batters such as Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, and Bhanuka Rajapaksa who can be destructive in the T20s. The cricketer-turned-commentator feels that the Dasun Shanaka-led team also has a good seam attack.
“Not at any stage, India can take them lightly. They have got people like Kusal Mendis, Asalanka and Rajapaksa. These guys can be destructive, especially in the T20 format. The challenge for Sri Lanka will be the 50-over format. T20 – I think they are a very good side and probably it’s fifty-fifty.”
“They have got Dilshan Madushanka as well. We haven’t seen a lot of him but he has got all the talent – whatever little we saw in the Asia Cup, he can bowl 140 and swing the ball back in. He has got a good slower one. Lahiru Kumara has got pace. So they have got all the ingredients to be a very good T20 side.”