Sri Lanka’s hopes of winning a maiden ICC Champions Trophy in England and Wales this summer have taken a hit after medium pacer Chanaka Welegedara suffered a foot injury during a warm-up match on Saturday.
Welegedara, 32, lasted just 2.4 overs for Rest of Sri Lanka against Sri Lanka A in Pallekele before hobbling off complaining of pain in his right foot and ankle.
"Welegedara came off immediately and is currently unable to put any weight on his right foot," said a Sri Lanka Cricket statement.
It is yet unknown if he will recover in time to play for his national side in the one-day tournament this June but if he is absent from the squad many cricket betting fans have voiced their concern over Sri Lanka’s title chances.
For Welegedara is one of Sri Lanka’s main attacking threats and his absence is likely to inspire the team’s three group opponents England, Australia and New Zealand to attack at the crease.
There was real hope in the international cricket world Welegedara would make an impact at the ICC Champions Trophy, for the paceman deserves more than the 10 previous ODI appearances for his country.
Figures of 5-66 against India three years ago proved just how lethal Welegedara is on his day and the Test team have suffered from his absence through injuries over the past 12 months.
With Welegedara a doubt, Sri Lanka must rely on specialist fast bowlers Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Kulasekara to do the job this summer – an unlikely trio that will find it hard against the world’s best ODI batsmen.
Most ICC Champions Trophy betting tips says you should back Sri Lanka to make the semis if he plays, but if he is absent they won’t win a bean against three impressive batting units.