Both England and Sri Lanka will be led by novice captains when they meet in the Twenty20 international here on Saturday.
Sri Lanka had hoped to have skipper Tillakaratne Dilshan back in their side after he missed the third and final Test against England with a broken thumb suffered making 193 in the drawn second Test at Lord’s.
But the opener is still not fit and that means Thilina Kandamby, the vice-captain for the limited overs leg of a tour also featuring five one-day international matches, is set to lead Sri Lanka.
Kandamby will have three former captains – Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara and Sanath Jayasuriya – in his side.
But 29-year-old batsman Kandamby insisted: “It is good that I am starting my career captaining at this level with that experience behind me – Mahela, Sanath, Kumar all there. It will be good.”
Jayasuriya may have made a sparkling 78 in the tourists’ warm-up win against Worcestershire on Wednesday but his presence in the squad is controversial.
The veteran batsman, 42 at the end of a the month, has not played a one-day international since appearing against India in 2009.
Now an MP in the United People’s Freedom Alliance party of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse, Jayasuriya’s selection for this part of the tour has come following reported political pressure to ensure he received a fitting send-off from the international game.
Jayasuriya now plans to play at Bristol and in the opening ODI at The Oval on Tuesday before retiring.
But Kandamby insisted he had no problems having opener Jayasuriya, whose blazing hitting helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup, in his side.
“He is one of the legends that we have produced so I always enjoy playing with him,” Kandamby said. “He has said he is retiring so I am very happy to play with him.”
Meanwhile Stuart Broad expects to be fit to lead England for the first time on Saturday.
Broad suffered a bruised heel during the drawn third Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl concluded earlier this week, a result that gave Englanhd the three-match series 1-0.
That sparked concerns over whether he would be able to take up the reins in his first match as skipper following the axing of World Twenty20 winning captain Paul Collingwood from England’s squad.
But Broad, having overcome his heel problem, took a tumble during fielding practice on Friday after falling over a medicine ball while taking a catch.
He received treatment on his ankle but said afterwards he was fit.
“It seems to have pulled up quite well so it’s not a concern and I’m really excited about the opportunity of captaining tomorrow (Saturday),” Broad said.
Broad will be the second of three England captains in as many matches now that Test skipper Andrew Strauss no longer plays limited overs cricket and with Alastair Cook leading the team in the 50-over one-day internationals.