Sri Lanka Cricket announced a 15-man squad to take on the touring BlackCaps in a 3-match T20 series starting on the 1st of this September.
While Lasith Malinga and Niroshan Dickwella have been retained as the Captain and Vice-Captain respectively, the 16-man squad which played 3 T20s in South Africa prior to the World Cup, has undergone 9 changes.
Out – Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Perera, Priyamal Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay
In – Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Wanindu De Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Madushanka, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara
Out of the 8 new additions, Kusal Perera is the most obvious inclusion as he missed the South Africa T20s due to an injury he sustained during the ODI series during the same tour.
Danushka Gunathilaka finds himself a place following a blistering knock in the 3-day warm-up match against New Zealand while Shehan Jayasuriya, Wanindu De Silva and Dasun Shanaka have earned their spots after good outings with the Sri Lanka development squads and also with the Sri Lanka ODI team in the recently concluded ODI series against Bangladesh. The two spin bowling all-rounders De Silva and Jayasuriya have been picked ahead of Dhananjaya De Silva, Sri Lanka’s best spinner in the World Cup, and the ambidextrous youngster Kamindu Mendis.
Lahiru Madushanka, who performed quite well for the Sri Lanka Emerging team in South Africa, returned to the national set up when he was named in the preliminary ODI squad for the Bangladesh series. After missing out on the final squad on that occasion, the 26-year old has been picked ahead of the experienced Thisara Perera. Despite failing to perform in ODIs, Thisara Perera has been doing well in T20s with an average of 30 and 100+ strike rate in his last 5 T20I innings.
In the bowling department, Akila Dananjaya has been retained despite being reported for a suspect bowling action. He is set to undergo a bowling test in the coming weeks; failure to pass could see him banned for up to a year.
Meanwhile, Angelo Mathews who didn’t feature in South Africa prior to the World Cup due to injury has reportedly been rested. With this new look side, Sri Lanka will be hoping to maintain consistency in selections as they look to form a settled team for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup in Australia next year.
The Squad – Lasith Malinga (C), Niroshan Dickwella (VC), Avishka Fernando, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Wanindu De Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara