Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have announced a 22-member squad for their upcoming three-match ODI series against Bangladesh, which starts next week, ThePapare.com learns.
“We selected a large pool of 22 players because we wanted to experiment a little. We will finalize the playing XI for each match accordingly since it’s a home series. “Chief Selector Asantha De Mel told ThePapare.com.
The selectors have axed four members of the World Cup squad, namely, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Suranga Lakmal and Jeffrey Vandersay.
36-year old leg-spinning all-rounder, Mendis, had a miserable World Cup campaign, scoring only 19 runs in 3 games and failed to get a single wicket with the ball. 32-year old Test spearhead Lakmal played only three games in the World Cup but was ineffective with the white-ball as he too failed to take a single wicket. Siriwardana and Vandersay played only one game each and could not make sizeable contributions to justify their selections.
Fast-bowling sensation Lasith Malinga, who was Sri Lanka’s best bowler in the World Cup with 13 wickets has publicly stated that he will retire from ODI cricket during this series. Malinga has taken 335 ODI wickets so far in 225 games at an impressive bowling average of 29.02.
“We want him [Lasith Malinga] to play all three ODIs, but there is no official word yet on his retirement plans.” De Mel further stated.
Players like Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Kumara and Shehan Jayasuriya, who were not in the touring party for the World Cup are set to make comebacks. Dickwella made 216 runs in 6 games against India ‘A’ in a recent unofficial ODI series, while Jayasuriya was in top-form there, smashing 320 runs in 4 innings with 2 centuries.
To bolster the bowling attack in familiar conditions, three specialist spinners in Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya and Amila Aponso have also been named in the pool.
Oshada Fernando and Angelo Perera, who was a part of the standby list for the World Cup have been omitted from the squad. However, fast-bowling all-rounder Lahiru Madushanka finds a place in the squad. He picked up nine wickets in seven games with the Sri Lanka Emerging team in South Africa recently.
The Bangladesh team, divided into two groups, will arrive in the island on the 20th and 22nd July and will play a warm-up match on 23rd July at P. Sara Oval Stadium. All three ODIs on 26th, 28th, and 31st July will be played at R. Premadasa International Cricket Stadium, Colombo.
Sri Lanka Squad – Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Danushka Gunathilaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya De Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Amila Aponso, Dasun Shanaka, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Madusanka, Lasith Malinga, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep.
*This article has been amended at 06.20pm (19th July) after SLC released the official squad.