The National Selectors has appointed Dimuth Karunaratne as the ODI captain of the Sri Lanka National Cricket Team on Wednesday. His first assignment will be the forthcoming ICC Cricket World Cup which is scheduled to kick-start on the 30th of May in England.
The appointment which was ratified by the Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports, Honorable Harin Fernando, also marks Karunaratne’s return to the national limited overs set-up.
Karunaratne, who has played just 17 ODIs since his ODI debut in 2011, last played an ODI during the 2015 World Cup. Being a specialist opening batsman, Karunaratne was used in the middle-order in the four games he featured in.
After a long layoff from the white ball team, Karunaratne makes a comeback as Sri Lanka’s best Test batsman and main Test opener and as such is likely to open the innings this time around.
Karunaratne proved his ODI batting skills in the recently concluded SLC Super Provincial One Day tournament as he became the 5th highest run-scorer of the tournament, making 165 runs in 4 matches at an average of 55.
His promotion to leadership mainly comes after his excellent outing as the stand-in captain of an inexperienced Sri Lankan Test squad which went on to become the first team other than England and Australia to win a Test series in South Africa.
Incumbent skipper, Lasith Malinga failing to win a single match during his short tenure in charge prompted the selectors into removing him from the position despite him being the most experienced player among the current lot. He’ll continue as the Captain of the T20I team.
Rumors have also arisen that Malinga has decided to retire from international cricket due to him being removed from the captaincy. However, anything related to this is yet to be confirmed officially.
Karunaratne now becomes the 7th captain to lead Sri Lanka since their quarter-final exit from the 2015 World Cup. Angelo Mathews, who led Sri Lanka in the last World Cup was sacked once before he was re-appointed after the failures of Upul Tharanga and Thisara Perera.
Chamara Kapugedara and Lasith Malinga also stood in for Tharanga during his stint. Mathews was removed again and Dinesh Chandimal handed the reins. The final appointment before Karunaratne’s was Malinga’s as he took over from Chandimal.
With the biggest dilemma of the Sri Lankan squad for the 2019 World Cup which was the appointing of a captain being solved, the full squad is expected to be announced tomorrow (18th).
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