Former Sri Lanka captain Sanath Jayasuriya dropping a bombshell ahead of the two-match T-20 series against Pakistan charged captain Lasith Malinga for having demanded the removal of Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne from the squad for the shortest format.
Sri Lanka, the current T-20 world champions are set to take on Shahid Afridi’s men in a two-match T-20 series starting at RPS on Thursday (30 July). The second and final game is fixed for 1 August also at the same venue.
“I know for a long time Lasith Malinga wanted to keep Chandimal out of the T-20 squad,” Jayasuriya, 46, told the PTV (Pakistan Television Corporation) participating in a cricket talk show.
“Everyone is talking why Chandimal and Thirimanne is missing from the T20 squad. Both of them were the best two batsmen for Sri Lanka from the five-match ODI series against Pakistan. So, both being out of the side is very strange for me. Instead they have brought in Chamara Kapugedera and five new players. They have recalled Kapugedera after about three years. He (Kapugedera) is a good talented player, but in the recent past he has been not in the runs.”
Jayasuriya who was flanked by two ex-Pakistani icons Javed Miandad and Saqlain Mushtaq during the talk show, was asked by the interviewer why Malinga had sought the omission of Chandimal in particular, who was the previous skipper of the T-20 team.
He said, Malinga had demanded the head of Chandimal to balance the squad with flamboyant opener Kusal Perera who can also stand behind the stumps.
The former Sri Lanka legend insisted both Lahiru Thirimanne and Dinesh Chandimal were the future of Sri Lanka cricket.
He added in such a background the duo being dumped from the T-20 squad with the 2016 T-20 World Cup also not being far away, was nothing short of lunacy on the part of the current selectors.
The former chief selector also lambasted the current selection panel headed by Kapila Wijegunawardene for giving into the whims and fancies of captain cum out of form sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga at a critical juncture for cricket in the country.
However, chief selector Wijegunawardene has said the omissions of Chandimal and Thirimanne does not rule them out of the running to play in next year’s World T20. “Chandimal and Thirimanne needed to prepare for the upcoming India Test series which is a very important one.
We’re tryng to manage all their workloads because we have a very busy calendar till July next year.”
Sri Lanka picked five uncapped players – fast bowler Binura Fernando, leg spinner Jeffrey Vandersay and batsmen Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, and Dhananjaya de Silva – in their Twenty20 squad for the two-match series against Pakistan.