Experienced fast bowler Lasith Malinga has been named Sri Lanka’s new ODI and T20I captain for the upcoming series against New Zealand.
The new selection committee led by Asantha De Mel have also decided to name wicket-keeper batsman Niroshan Dickwella as the vice-captain of the side.
Malinga replaced Dinesh Chandimal, who had been appointed as captain until the World Cup next year by the previous selection committee headed by Greame Labrooy. Malinga, who led to Sri Lanka to the World T20 title in 2014 only captained Sri Lanka once in ODI cricket.
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Chandimal was appointed after Angelo Mathews was sacked from captaincy and dropped from the side due to poor cricket fitness. He holds on to his place in the squad, while Mathews has also been recalled to the side. Mathews is expected to resume bowling from this series.
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Leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna and all-rounder Asela Gunaratne have both been recalled to the limited-overs setup, while there’s no place for Akila Dananjaya, who was suspended from bowling in international cricket due to an illegal action.
There is no place for young batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made a half-century in the final ODI against England in Colombo. Samarawickrama is currently in New Zealand with the Test squad, but in a surprising move has been dropped for Danushka Gunathilaka, who has been recalled to the after missing out the Asia Cup and England series due to injury concerns.
Another notable absentee is the upcoming ambidextrous all-rounder Kamindu Mendis, who impressed in the one-off T20I against England and in the ongoing Emerging Teams Asia Cup 2018.
Soon after the appointment of the new selection committee last month, Sri Lanka made heap of changes by recruiting a new fielding coach (Steve Rixon) and batting coach (Jon Lewis) until the World Cup after their disastrous home series against England.
Sri Lanka will play three ODIs and one T20I against New Zealand from 3rd to 11th January.
Sri Lanka ODI & T20I squad – Lasith Malinga (Captain), Niroshan Dickwella (Vice-Captain), Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Janith Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya De Silva, Asela Gunaratne, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara