If you’re looking for some fantasy advice ahead of the upcoming T20 International Series between Australia and Sri Lanka, you’ve come to the right place!
This fantasy guide will help you out with all the top picks, wildcard selections and the players to avoid when it comes to making your team. This article will also give you the best chance of picking a winning XI across the entire three-game series in Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne.
LETS GET STARTED!
Top 5 picks – Australia
(1) David Warner – It might sound crazy, especially after a dismal-Ashes series with the bat left the Aussie openers confidence battered & bruised. This isn’t test cricket though, in fact it’s the complete opposite. Lets not forget that Warner was the leading run scorer in the 2019 IPL averaging 69.20. It would be a huge risk to leave him out of your team after scoring almost 700 runs in the most popular T20 comp in the world.
(2) Glenn Maxwell – He’s called the “Big Show” for a reason, that reason being he’s one of the most talented & entertaining cricketers of the modern era. Anyone who’s able to score 3 T20I hundreds automatically puts them in that ‘X factor’ category, his highest score of 145 not out came against Sri Lanka in 2016. Maxwell is a fantasy-must, he’ll score you points in the field and pick up the occasional wicket as well.
(3) Mitchell Starc – With the ICC T20I World Cup just around the corner, the Aussies are striving to find their best XI. This is a prime opportunity for Mitchell Starc to assert himself as Australia’s strike-bowler again, Sri Lanka could be in some trouble. Not selected for most of the Ashes tests, Starc will be eager to pencil his name in for that 2020 World Cup squad with some fiery-spells in this series.
(4) Steve Smith – His weakest format (if you can even call it that) out of the three, Steve Smith’s stellar-2019 is set to continue going by what he’s already accomplished. Smith hasn’t really reached any great heights in T20I cricket, however it’s hard to see him staying quiet after his record-breaking Ashes series in the UK just recently. On these hard-Australian wickets, the former Aussie skipper should dominate when given the chance.
(5) Adam Zampa – Certainly not your traditional leg-spinner, Adam Zampa’s flat & skiddy bowling seems to do the trick in this format of the game. With an economy of 6.04 in T20I cricket, the 27-year-old leggy is rarely-targeted which is strange in itself. Zampa should get some bounce on these wickets, making up for his lack of spin and more his change in pace & flight. He could also potentially play all three matches which is another upside.
Top 5 picks – Sri Lanka
(1) Wanindu Hasaranga – The 22-year-old leg-spinner impressed in the recent T20I series against Pakistan and New Zealand where he picked up 12 wickets in 6 matches. Pace isn’t expected to overly-trouble the Australian batsmen, that’s where Hasaranga must impact the game. Sri Lanka have shown faith in the young spinner which is a positive sign, can he continue his good fortunes down under?
(2) Niroshan Dickwella – He’s got all the flashy-shots including that trademark-scoop, consistency is the only question mark in his game. Almost a carbon copy of Tillakaratne Dilshan, Dickwella’s inventive-stroke play can put Sri Lanka in the box seat in a matter of overs. Again, averaging just 21.20 in T20I’s it would be great to see the wicketkeeper-batsman go on with his innings and produce some match-winning knocks.
(3) Lasith Malinga – The veteran is back for yet another series in Australia before the T20I World Cup kicks off, what an epic career it has been. Malinga continues to deliver in this format, his last T20I in early-September saw him destroy the Black Caps with a spell of four overs, 5/6! The Sri Lankan skipper is all about the slower balls these days opposed to speed, yet he hasn’t lost that wicket-taking ability which is key to his game.
(4) Oshada Fernando – Scoring 78 not out on debut against Pakistan, Oshada Fernando is a huge favorite to start in Sri Lanka’s T20I XI against Australia. His chances were increased when he top scored against the PM’s XI with 38 runs in a tour game at Canberra just recently. Fernando has been in the system for a fairly-long time, and it’s just now that he seems to have peaked, hence his selection in the national side.
(5) Kusal Mendis – Always touted as a talented young cricketer, Kusal Mendis will be looking to make his mark in Australia as he prepares to face the hosts strongest bowling combination in this format. A successful ODI series against Bangladesh at home followed by another solid showing in the T20I’s against New Zealand, Mendis comes into this series in relatively good form.
Typically a wildcard pick is someone who can deliver an out-of-the-ordinary performance, and there’s a number of them in this series. Kusal Perera is certainly no mug with the bat, he has tendencies to go big on occasions but isn’t your regular selection. Isuru Udana is another player for Sri Lanka who can explode with a lively-performance out of nowhere, especially with the ball. For Australia, batsmen like Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Alex Carey are all proven run-scorers in the domestic T20 format, there’s every chance they could do the same in this International home series. Australia’s Kane Richardson was one of the leading wicket-takers in last year’s BBL making him a unique pick alongside the likes of Starc, Cummins and Zampa. If Lakshan Sandakan gets his chance in the series, he’ll be another to keep an eye on after picking up 3 wickets in Sri Lanka’s tour match.
Pass – STAY AWAY!
These players will more often than not burn you if you pick them in your fantasy XI, so avoid them at all costs! Although they could also be viewed as wildcards, Sri Lankan-duo Danushka Gunathilaka and Dasan Shanaka can’t be trusted when it comes to scoring valuable points. They both average under 23 in T20I cricket and aren’t really X factors making them an extremely-risky pick. Australia also has Ashton Agar who isn’t likely to bat and isn’t a genuine wicket-taker as a spinner, and the recent decline of Andrew Tye as a specialist T20 bowler means that he’s not only a liability with the ball, but he’s not guaranteed a spot in the XI either.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.