The Sri Lankan icon Kumar Sangakkara has recently confirmed that he will be retiring from International Cricket after the second Test between India and Sri Lanka next month. The stylish left-hander earlier in the year retired from the ODI format post the 2015 World Cup and from the T20 format last year after guiding his side to a World Cup in Bangladesh.Replacing him at number 3 is going to be one heck of a challenge for the Lankan Lions and keeping that in mind, we take a look at the potential candidates who can replace him on the long run.
#1 Kithuruwan Vithanage
Vithanage was earmarked as a future star by the former selector Sanath Jayasuriya on the back of his domestic performances. The coach of the Sri Lankan A team too, hailed the left-handed batsman as one for the future after his successful series against Pakistan A at home.
Despite the gaping flaws in his technique, Vithanage lets his hard hitting ability help him atone for the apparent shortcoming in technique. His ability to put pressure on bowlers by going after them, may very well prevent bowlers from attacking him, by forcing them to defend.
In his short Test career though, Vithanage has flattered to deceive. After 8 Test matches, his average fidgets around 30. Nonetheless, he already has a century in Tests which came against Bangladesh at home in 2013.
Most of his Test innings have come at number six or seven. Vithanage usually bats in the top order for his club team and his few endeavors at the top order for the national team have been match winning. With chances at the top order, Vithanage might very well end up sealing a spot in the lineup.
#2 Niroshan Dickwella
The left-handed wicket-keeper batsman hails from the same school as Kumar Sangakkara. With a supreme technique and his propensity to attack, Dickwella is definitely an exhilarating prospect.
Facing the South African bowling attack, much like Sanga, Dickwella scored a fighting half-century on debut. Even though he has not done much since then, his performances at the domestic level are keeping the selectors interested.
With Chandimal expected to play as a specialist batsman in the future, Dickwella’s keeping skills might very well earn him a spot in the team, in the future.
#3 Roshen Silva
A relatively unheard name in the international circuit, Roshen Silva has a meticulous first class record. An average of around 48 in first class cricket for a Sri Lankan is gargantuan.
A right-handed batsman by trade, he is known for his sound technique. Having represented Sri Lanka at the under 19 level, the 26-year-old is awaiting his opportunities to represent the national team.
He has also done considerably well in overseas leagues, especially in Dhaka Premiere League, scoring plenty of runs which vouches for his ability to adapt to foreign conditions.
#4 Kusal Janith Perera
Kusal Perera is another left handed wicket-keeper batsman and is the front-runner to replace Kumar Sangakkara in the Test XI. Despite skeptics questioning his aggressive temperament, Kusal has shown how aggression can be made use of in Test cricket.
In the recently concluded series against Pakistan A, the wicket-keeper batsman scored two centuries in three matches batting mostly at number 7.
His wicket keeping having already earned adulations from Ian Healey, he could be the ideal wicket-keeper batsman for Sri Lanka considering the fact that Dinesh Chandimal would not want to keep for longer in tests.
#5 Jehan Mubarak
Mubarak finds himself at the wrong side of 30, but yet he is a close contender for a place in the Sri Lankan test side. A national swimmer and a water polo player, the American-born Sri Lankan left-hander made his Test debut way back in 2002. But a spree of poor performances never allowed him to settle down in the team as he soon found himself out of the side.
But with a strong string of domestic performances, with the last two years earning him in excess of thousand runs each at the first class level, the selectors have been forced to consider the aging domestic veteran.
Mubarak is also a part-time spinner and a brilliant fielder. Considering the lack of experience in the test side, Mubarak may very well be the successor of Sangakkara, but he will have to do serious alterations to his international record especially his empty half century column.