By Dinouk Colombage
Sri Lanka Cricket announced the squad for the up coming limited overs matches in England and Scotland scheduled for the end of the month.
Headlines were dominated on Thursday with the announcement that veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya would be returning to international cricket. With the exclusion of Upul Tharanga following a positive dope test, Jayasuriya looked the likeliest to replace him at the top of the order. The former world cup winner however, announced he would retire from international cricket following the first match against England at Lords on June 28.
Jayasuriya’s inclusion was not the only surprise spun out by Duleep Mendis’ selection team. Middle order batsman Thilina Kandamby will be making a comeback to the Sri Lankan colours with an added responsibility. Kandamby’s inclusion was expected, his appointment as Dilshan’s vice-captain was not. Kandamby will replace Kumar Sangakarra who is Dilshan’s deputy in the ongoing test series. Having not been part of Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad, many supporters have been left scratching their heads over this appointment.
All-rounder Jeewan Mendis and wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Chandimal have also been added to the squad. Thilan Samaraweera, Chamara Kapugedara and Chamara Silva have all been omitted. This new look middle order comes as a slight surprise considering Sri Lanka’s strong showing at the World Cup. It does illustrate however, Duleep Mendis’ intentions of looking to the younger players to take Sri Lanka Cricket forward.
Fast bowler Suranga Lakmal also finds a spot in the team, while left arm spinner Rangana Herath misses out. Dimuth Karunaratne, a left hand opening batsman, has been repaid for his good form in the domestic season. With the retirement of Sanath Jayasuriya and possible injury to Dilshan, Karunaratne may find himself given a game or two.
Injured all-rounder Angelo Mathews has also been provisionally included in the squad following his withdrawal from the World Cup final and the subsequent IPL. His permanent selection is dependant on fitness.
Limited-overs squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (capt), Thilina Kandamby (vice-capt), Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardena, Dinesh Chandimal, Jeewan Mendis, Dimuth Karunaratne, Thissara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Suranga Lakmal, Dilhara Fernando, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis Angelo Mathews, Sanath Jayasuriya.