Sri Lanka announced their Test and ODI squads for the upcoming series against England, which starts next month, at a media briefing earlier today (26th September).
The biggest surprise is the omission of former skipper Angelo Mathews from the ODI squad. Mathews, who was asked to step down as captain earlier this week, has been left-out of the ODI squad due to fitness concerns.
“Angelo’s cricket fitness is not up to mark. We want him to improve his fitness levels, that’s why we took this collective decision. This is not a sudden change, we have been monitoring his fitness levels for a long time. His fielding fitness and running between the wickets skills are very poor, which affects the whole team.” Sri Lanka Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha stated.
Dinesh Chandimal will replace Mathews at the helm in the ODIs after missing the Asia Cup due to a finger injury.
Since the beginning of 2017, Mathews has scored 888 ODI runs in 22 innings at an average of 59.20. In Sri Lanka’s most recent bilateral series, against South Africa, Mathews was the highest scorer across the 5 matches, with 235 runs at 78.33.
Kusal Mendis, as expected, has also been left out of the ODI squad after failing to score a half-century in his last 21 ODI innings. His last 50+ score in ODI cricket came against Zimbabwe in June 2017 against Zimbabwe.
Wicket-keeper batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama has earned a recall into the national fold once again after scoring heavily against the South Africa Emerging team and in the ongoing 26th Singer-MCA Premier League.
Experienced fast bowler Suranga Lakmal, Shehan Jayasuriya and Dilruwan Perera, who were in the squad for the Asia Cup have also been left-out of the ODI squad for the series which will begin on the 10th of October.
In the longest format of the game, diminutive right-handed opening batsman Kaushal Silva has replaced injured Danushka Gunathilaka, who opened the batting alongside Dimuth Karunaratne in the two-test series against South Africa, for the Test series in November.
“Gunathilaka who is nursing a back injury will be available for selection only in three weeks. So, we had to take a call to go ahead with another option.” Chief Selector Graeme Labrooy told.
The selectors have named five spinners in their 16-man Test squad as left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara, makes a comeback in the farewell series for spin legend Rangana Herath.
Mendis and Mathews are both featured in the Test squad.
Sri Lanka ODI Squad – Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Dushmantha Chameera,
Stand-by Players – Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kusal Mendis, Shehan Madushanka, Dimuth Karunarathne.
Sri Lanka Test Squad – Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Dimuth Karunarathne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Roshen Silva, Rangana Herath, Malinda Pushpakumara, Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Suranga Lakmal, Lahiru Kumara (Subject to Fitness), Kasun Rajitha.
Stand-by Players – Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nishan Peiris, Jeffrey Vandersay, Kusal Janith Perera.
Sri Lanka vs England – fixtures
1st ODI – 10th October – Dambulla (D/N)
2nd ODI – 13th October – Dambulla
3rd ODI – 17th October – Pallekelle (D/N)
4th ODI – 20th October – Pallekelle
5th ODI – 23rd October – R. Premadasa (D/N)
Only T20I – 27th October – R. Premadasa (Night)
1st Test – 6th to 10th November – Galle
2nd Test – 14th to 18th November – Pallekelle
3rd Test – 23rd to 27th November – SSC