The 22-year old left-handed batsman has been a revelation since he came onto the domestic scene in 2014. Having the ability to bat at any given position is a key batting skill possessed by this dashing player from Ragama Cricket Club, certainly making him a match winning prospect.
He averages 48.86, scoring more than 1800 runs in 24 first-class matches and has 5 centuries to his name. The former Peterite was also the Best Batsman in the Premier Limited Overs Tournament 2014/15 scoring 304 runs in 7 matches with a 50+ average. In the recently concluded Premier League Tournament 2015/16, Milantha was the 4th highest run-getter, making 883 runs in 10 matches at an average of 63.07 and scoring 3 centuries.
By far the tallest fast-bowler in Sri Lanka at 6’ 7 tall, Fernando made a scintillating entry into the international scene when he represented Sri Lanka in the two-match T20I series against Pakistan last July. He has been hindered by a hamstring injury since then and has gone below the radar for the national team even though he is currently fully fit and raring to go.
With only 10 first-class matches to his name, the 20-year old left-arm seamer was part of the Sri Lanka A team which toured New Zealand last October. He also took 6 wickets in 4 T20 matches representing Western Troopers in the SLC Super T20 Provincial Tournament earlier this year. With his ability to extract extra bounce off the surface and swing the ball both ways, Fernando may have been an ideal option in English conditions.
The most notable omission from the squad, Shehan Jayasuriya was superb with both bat and ball when he last played for Sri Lanka ‘A’ in New Zealand. He took 6 wickets in 4 games in the unofficial ODI series while taking a seven-wicket haul in another tour game.
The off-spinning all-rounder has been featuring regularly in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team and the national team in the past 18 months and was a part of the Sri Lanka ODI squad which beat West Indies last November. He has played 11 T20Is for Sri Lanka and was part of the Sri Lanka T20 team for the ICC World T20 in India even though he did not make a noteworthy contribution.
His absence from the national squad was expected but he could possibly have been a value addition to the ‘A’ team, particularly in the limited overs format.
The 23-year old left-arm spinner from St. Sebastian’s College and Ragama CC, Amila Aponso ended as the third highest wicket-taker in the Premier League Tournament 2015/16 with 47 wickets in 10 matches at an impressive average of 20.97. From all the left-arm orthodox spinners who took more than 35 wickets in the tournament, Aponso remains on top of the lot, but was overlooked for the England tour.
He was a part of the last New Zealand ‘A’ unofficial Test series where he got the opportunity to play only one game in which he captured 3 wickets in a single innings and scored 41 runs with the bat in both innings. After 27 first-class matches, Aponso has already taken 111 wickets including 6 five-wicket hauls.
The stylish 21-year old right-handed batsman from Gurukula College, Kelaniya and Colts CC, Hashan Dumindu is another name which the selectors have overlooked. He finished as the 3rd highest run-getter in the Premier Limited Overs Tournament 2015/16 scoring 197 runs in 6 matches with an average nearing 50.
During the trial matches played last month, Dumindu made a match-winning 70 in a 50-over match which helped his team coast to victory, in total he made 140 runs in 3 trial matches. He was also a part of the Sri Lanka U19 team in 2014 under the captaincy of Kusal Mendis. With a long future ahead, Dumindu could well have been a good option in the top-order of the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team.
Although the five players named here have age on their side, they will definitely be frustrated with being left out of major international tours despite having performed well in the domestic arena and are possibly even wondering what they need to do in order to earn a call up.