Dasun Shanaka will be leading the Sri Lanka cricket team in the upcoming 2022 Asia CupUAE. They have been placed in Group B, which also include Bangladesh and Afghanistan. He has spent the last five years playing an important role in the Sri Lankan set up. Thus, the all-rounder’s performance will be crucial to the island nation’s chances of making it to the semifinals or winning the competition.

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Who is Dasun Shanaka?

Professional cricketer Dasun Shanaka represents Sri Lanka at the international level and currently serves as the captain of its ODI and T20 setup. He typically plays as an all-rounder and is a right-handed batter and right-arm medium quick bowler.

Shanaka was born on September 9, 1991 in Negombo, Sri Lanka. He was first selected to play for Sri Lanka in a series of Twenty20 international (T20I) matches against Pakistan in July 2015. On May 19, 2016, while on the same tour, he played his first Test match for Sri Lanka against England. He was Sri Lanka’s 134th Test participant.  

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On June 16, 2016, he played in his first One Day International (ODI) match against Ireland. In 19 balls, Shanaka scored 42 runs. He also bowled and picked up five wickets for 42 runs. He became the 12th player and third Sri Lankan to start an ODI with five wickets. In addition, he received the Man of the Series award for his first ODI series. He was one of 33 cricketers who received a national contract from Sri Lanka Cricket in May 2018 in preparation for the 2018–19 season.

Shanaka was selected to lead Sri Lanka’s T20I team for the series against Pakistan in Pakistan in September 2019. Sri Lanka won the first T20I he captained by 64 runs. For the first time in six years, Sri Lanka defeated Pakistan in a 20-over match. Shanaka helped Sri Lanka defeat Pakistan in all three Twenty20 internationals; it was Pakistan’s first whitewash loss and Sri Lanka’s first T20I series sweep. Along with MS Dhoni and Michael Clarke, he was the third captain in history to lead his team to a 3-0 T20I victory over Pakistan.

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Shanaka was reappointed as captain for the limited overs series against India after Kusal Perera was fired after Sri Lanka lost the series against England in June 2021. The ODI series under his captaincy was lost 2-1. However, Sri Lanka defeated India 2-1 in the T20I series to win the first bilateral T20I series.

Shanaka was again the captain of the ODI side prior to Sri Lanka’s limited overs series against South Africa in September. Sri Lanka went on to win the ODI series 2-1, marking their first series victory over South Africa in eight years. Shanaka made 102 runs in the second ODI against Zimbabwe in January 2022 to register his first century in the format.

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Prior to their trip to the West Indies in February 2021, Lasith Malinga was officially replaced by Shanaka as Sri Lanka’s T20I captain. Shanaka was also selected as the ODI captain for Sri Lanka’s series against India in July 2021.