Chandimal to be given a break from international cricket?

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According to reliable sources, the Sri Lanka Test team will undergo several drastic changes following a streak of heavy losses, with the latest being a 2-0 drubbing in the hands of an out of sorts Aussie outfit.

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Sources close to the team suggest that Captain Dinesh Chandimal, who has been in poor form with just 1 half-century in his last 10 Test innings, is set to be given a break from international cricket to regain some form. His highest score in the most recent series against Australia was 15, which he scored in the 1st innings of the 2nd Test.

His last half-century came in the 2nd innings of the 2nd Test against New Zealand in Christchurch, the match in which he was promoted to number 3 from the middle order. Since then, he has batted at number 3 with no success. Interestingly, before the change in the batting order, he averaged almost 50 batting in the middle order as the captain from 24 innings.

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Vice-captain and opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne is tipped to lead the team for the first time in his international career in Chandimal’s absence. Karunaratne who replaced Suranga Lakmal as the Vice-captain of the team, following the 3-0 series defeat against England at home, has been one of the very few Sri Lankan players who has retained a stable position in the Test XI. He was also the only Sri Lankan to feature in the ICC Test team of the year in 2018.

In other news, highest run-scorer of the ongoing SLC Major Tier ‘A’ tournament, Oshada Fernando of Chilaw Marians CC is reportedly set to be picked in the squad which will tour South Africa, according to reliable sources (The final squad is yet to be announced officially by SLC). With Angelo Mathews still to recover from the injury he sustained in New Zealand, Fernando is set to be added to Sri Lanka’s options of middle order batsmen. Therefore few of the batsmen in the current squad are likely to face the axe.

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Fernando is the only batsman to have gone past the 1000-run mark in the ongoing Premier first-class tournament with 1181 runs in 9 matches. He averages 73.81 and has scored 6 centuries so far.

Another major issue faced by the islanders during their tour down under was their fast bowlers getting injured regularly. In-fact, all four fast bowlers originally picked for the tour, did not make it past the 1st Test. Frontline pacers in the likes of Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmatha Chameera and Lahiru Kumara are yet to be cleared from injuries for the upcoming series. With this in mind, the selectors are reportedly considering adding 23-year old right arm fast bowler of BRC, Mohamed Shiraz to strengthen the pace battery.

He was quite impressive for Sri Lanka ‘A’ in the recently concluded Unofficial Test series against Ireland ‘A’, picking up 7 wickets in 2 matches. He has also picked up 23 wickets in the 7 matches he has played in the SLC Major Tier ‘A’ tournament so far this season.

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