Akila, Avishka & Kamindu among those in the ODI Squad for South africa

Sa’adi Thawfeeeq in Daily News, 19 February 2019, … http://www.dailynews.lk/2019/02/19/sports/177932/akila-dananjaya-picked-sa-odi-series

Sri Lanka spinner Akila Dananjaya who was reported for a suspect bowling action following the first Test against England at Galle last November was named in the 17-man squad for the five-match One-Day International series against South Africa starting on March 3 at Johannesburg. Dananjaya underwent remedial action to his bowling and was cleared by the ICC (see separate story) that has resulted in him finding a place in the one-day side. Dananjaya was the most consistent bowler in Sri Lanka’s ODI ranks over the past year and had begun to have success in the Test format as well when he was reported.

Like in the Test squad named for the ongoing series against South Africa the national selectors have made wholesale changes to the ODI squad as well.

Three uncapped players (from left): Priyamal Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis.

Captain Dinesh Chandimal who was dropped for the South African Test series fails to find a place in the ODI squad too. Also overlooked are batsmen Danushka Gunathilaka and Sadeera Samarawickrama, all-rounders Asela Gunaratne and Dasun Shanaka and leg-spinner Seekkuge Prasanna – who were all part of the squad in the previous ODI series in New Zealand. Fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera who also went to New Zealand were not considered for selection due to injury.

Instead batsmen Angelo Perera who played the last of his 4 ODIs for Sri Lanka in August 2016 and newcomer Oshada Fernando who made his Test debut in the first Test against South Africa at Durban have been included along with 20-year-old ambidextrous spinner Kamindu Mendis and 23-year-old right-hand middle-order batsman Priyamal Perera who hit back-to-back double hundreds in the recently concluded Premier League Super Eight for Colts.

“These five games we want to give as many players as possible to play at least 2 games to get a rough idea. With injuries to some of our experienced fast bowlers we want to take these young bowlers to see how good they are. We need to have a back-up plan also,” said chief selector Ashantha de Mel said.

“Kusal Mendis has potential but he has not been doing as much as he should and not delivering the goods. We kept him because of his talent but what we can do is give him a couple of games and also try some other new faces. We thought we take a few more young players and have a look at them because they are playing well,” he said.

Oshada Fernando was playing Dale Steyn bowling at 145kmh on the front foot. It was very pleasing to see him bat. We have been watching him for a while. We are happy that he has come good. Priyamal Perera is another player he bats no. 4 or 5 and has a lot of potential. We want to give him a game or two and see.

Kamindu Mendis is a player who can bowl with both hands and has done really well in all the games we have given him. Angelo Perera has been getting hundreds in almost every game so he deserves a place. He is on the Test tour but it is difficult to get him a game that’s why we thought of including him in the ODI squad and give him a game or two and see how he fares,” De Mel said.

Also finding his way back into the ODI squad is veteran opener and former captain Upul Tharanga on the back of some good batting performances for Sri Lanka A against Ireland A in the unofficial ODI series were he scored two hundreds and his recent stint in the Bangladesh T20 league.

Along with Tharanga 20-year-old right-hander Avishka Fernando who had a tremendous ODI series against Ireland A thumping three hundreds and two fifties also finds a place. These two with Niroshan Dickwella named vice-captain will form the opening combinations for the series.

Old war horse Lasith Malinga will continue with the captaincy and with this being the final ODI series before the World Cup for Sri Lanka is most likely he will retain it for the big event as well.

Sri Lanka have retained only eight of the 17 players they took to New Zealand for the ODI series naming three uncapped ODI players in the squad – Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis and Priyamal Perera.

SRI LANKA ODI SQUAD FOR SOUTH AFRICA: Lasith Malinga (captain), Avishka Fernando, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (vice-captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan.

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