A host of familiar names have returned to the fold in Sri Lanka’s first post-World Cup squad, as the selectors named a 22-member ODI squad for the upcoming home series against Bangladesh. Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Akila Dananjaya, and Lakshan Sandakan are some of the notable returnees, which means there’s no room for allrounders Milinda Siriwardanaand Jeevan Mendis, veteran seamer Suranga Lakmal, and young legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay.
The omissions come as little surprise, with Vandersay having seen minimal game time at the World Cup, Siriwardena and Mendis having failed to live up to their “three-dimensional” tags, and Lakmal not a regular in the limited-overs set-up.
With home conditions likely to favour spinners, Sri Lanka have stocked up in that department. Both Dananjaya and Sandakan have recently toured India with the Sri Lanka A team, and spent much of that time working on their game with national spin-bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge who was on on tour with them. Meanwhile the likes of Wanindu Hasaranga, Amila Aponso, and Shehan Jayasuriya will be eyeing up the spin-bowling-allrounder position in the side. Dhananjaya de Silva, who picked up five wickets at 39.40 in the World Cup, will also be an option.
On the batting front, the returns of Dickwella, Gunathilaka, and Dasun Shanaka will likely put pressure on what selectors had recently deemed a fairly settled top six. Dickwella scored two centuries and a fifty against India A recently, while Shanaka had shown glimpses of form on the same tour. Gunathilaka, meanwhile, hasn’t played any cricket since a domestic provincial tournament prior to the World Cup, but has been selected on the form he had shown for much of 2018, which was disrupted by a poor disciplinary track record.
Lasith Malinga, who is set to retire following the Bangladesh ODIs, will lead a fast-bowling unit also including Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Pradeep and Lahiru Kumara. Lahiru Madushanka will also be part of that contingent, though following impressive performances with bat and ball for Sri Lanka’s emerging team in South Africa recently, the selectors may look at him as an allrounder option following the underwhelming World Cups endured by Isuru Udana and Thisara Perera.
Sri Lanka squad for Bangladesh ODIs: Dimuth Karunaratne (capt), Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Lahiru Thirimanne, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dhananjaya de Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Madushanka