Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Batsman Dinesh Chandimal and wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella were just two of the high-profile players left out of Sri Lanka’s World Cup squad, while Dimuth Karunaratne has been appointed as captain.
Chandimal was dropped for Sri Lanka’s recent tour of South Africa, but his omission from the ODI squad comes as a surprise as he was the country’s ODI captain as recently as last October.
As for Dickwella, he hasn’t been in good form as of late, as during the ODI series against South Africa, he made scores of 8, 6 and 2.
In addition to Chandimal and Dickwella, off-spinner Akila Dananjaya, and openers Danushka Gunthilaka and Upul Tharanga failed to make the cut.
“We can’t take two offspinners to the World Cup, and right now we are considering Dhananjaya de Silva as an offspinner,” de Mel said. “Since Akila remodeled his action, Dhananjaya gets wickets at a much better strike rate than Akila, and he also turns the ball more than Akila,” Sri Lanka chief selector Ashantha de Mel was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo.
Some of the players who made it into the side included batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, and all-rounders Milinda Siriwardana and Jeevan Mendis.
Meanwhile, Karunaratne has replaced veteran pace bowler Lasith Malinga as captain.
There had been speculation about whether a different player would lead after Karunaratne was arrested for drink-driving, but the selectors decided to stick with the 30-year-old, who hasn’t played ODI cricket since the 2015 World Cup.
Despite being replaced as captain, Malinga was included in the squad.
“We saw in South Africa how Dimuth was able to unite the team, and have everyone playing together,” De Mel said. “That was what was important to us at this time. I spoke to Malinga yesterday and explained to him that as selectors we didn’t have any issues with his captaincy, but that although he was playing well, the other 10 players weren’t behind him. That’s not his fault, but that was the situation we had.”
Sri Lanka will kick off their World Cup campaign against New Zealand in Cardiff on June 1.
Sri Lanka’s World Cup Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt.), Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardana, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal