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Sri Lanka have dropped batsman Dinesh Chandimal for the first two ODIs of the upcoming five-match series against Zimbabwe.
Chandimal has failed to have much of an impact with the bat in 2017 as he has scored 178 runs at an average of 22.25.
In the Champions Trophy, the 27-year-old only mustered 12 runs in three games at a dismal average of six.
Despite being left out for the first two ODIs, Sri Lanka’s cricket manager and selector Asanka Gurusinha insisted that Chandimal still remains in the selectors’ plans.
Furthermore, Gurusinha pointed out that the selectors are eager to give some of the youngsters in the country a chance to showcase their talent on the international stage.
“We only selected the side for the first two games. We haven’t selected the side for the rest of the series,” Gurusinha said. “We are looking at different combinations and that’s one of the reasons why we have selected this team to play in Galle.
“The conditions in Galle will be a bit different to those in Hambantota. If we are bringing in any youngsters, we wanted to make sure we have some senior players in the team as well.
“We didn’t want to bring 4-5 youngsters in the team. And that is the reason – with Danushka opening and batting well and Upul just coming back after suspension and scoring runs we went with that combination, so Upul to play and that’s the only reason Dinesh as left out of this squad. But he is in our plans.”
Given that the selectors want to see what the youngsters can do, uncapped 19-year-old all-rounder Wanidu Hasaranga was included in the squad.
“Wanidu has been playing well. He has been one of the best fielders in Sri Lanka right now, he’s batting well, in form and he has that option of legspin bowling,” Gurusinha said.
There were also recalls for 23-year-old Akila Dananjaya, 24-year-old Lahiru Madushanka and 25-year-old Dushmantha Chameera.
Dananjaya’s only ODI to date came all the way back in November 2012, while his last international match came in January 2013.
As for Madushanka, he has not played ODI cricket since February. Chameera, meanwhile, has been sidelined since December 2016 after sustaining a stress fracture to his lower back. His last ODI for Sri Lanka was against New Zealand in January last year.
The first ODI will take place on Friday in Galle, while the second ODI will be held two days later at the same venue.
Sri Lanka’s squad for first two ODIs: Angelo Mathews (c), Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Asela Gunaratne, Wanidu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Madushanka