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Sri Lanka searching for a Wrist Spinner for Short Formats

Sri Lanka's Chairman of Selectors - Graeme Labrooy - says that they are on the lookout for a match-winning wrist spinner, given the impact they've had in limited-overs cricket of late. In particular, India's Kuldeep Yadav and Yuzvendra Chahal have been key match winners for the world's number-one ranked team in ODIs in recent times. Also, while three wrist spinners feature in the list of top ten bowlers in ODI cricket, in T20Is their effectiveness is even more significant - occupying all of the top four ranks.
Many eyebrows were raised when Sri Lanka recalled leg-spinner Jeevan Mendis recently after a hiatus of three years. But after a substandard showing from the 35-year-old during the Nidahas Trophy, Labrooy is looking at other options now.
"In the shorter formats of the game, wrist spinners are dominating," Labrooy told Cricbuzz. "Unless the wickets offer some assistance, finger spinners are not making a big impact. We actually wanted to see whether we could take Jeevan through to next year's World Cup. He had experience. It's not the name, but we are looking at a leg-spinner. We gave Wanindu Hasaranga a break, but it didn't work.
"We will give Jeffrey Vandersay a run. The Head Coach is very keen on having a solid leg-spinner in the side. Vandersay was the front-runner among leg-spinners, but then he was injured for some time. By the time he recovered, he went and took three weeks off for his wedding. That is how he missed out on the tour of Bangladesh. We believe that players need to play regular cricket before we select them," Labrooy noted.
Labrooy also highlighted the difference between match-fitness and training-fitness. In that regard, he stressed on the importance of playing four-day cricket.
"If you take Thisara Perera, he has been labelled as a one-day specialist. We have asked him to play four-day cricket because that helps them to work on their match fitness. That is one area where we have struggled. We have observed that people pass fitness tests and yo-yo tests, but when they get back to playing games, they struggle with fitness. That is why we are insisting that everyone should play four-day cricket," Labrooy said.
Under new Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha, the team started off well winning across all three formats in Bangladesh during his maiden assignment. But the Nidahas Trophy played to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th year of independence was a huge disappointment as they managed to win just one out of four games and failed to reach the final.
"Disappointing to miss out on a berth in the final, but I thought we played better cricket overall than what we have been playing for the last seven or eight months. There were some decent performances although we lost. No excuses that we were not able to defend 214, but it was a very good effort by Bangladesh. The positive is that our batsmen are back among runs," Labrooy stated.
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