Sri Lanka’s New Cricket Selection Committee makes significant changes to ODI squad
Taking their first assignment, Sri Lanka’s new cricket selection committee has brought changes to the squad that finished second-last at the ODI World Cup. Eight changes have been made, including the addition of Wanindu Hasaranga, Pramod Madushan, Janith Liyanage, Nuwanidu Fernando, and Sahan Arachchige. Kusal Perera, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, and Kasun Rajitha have been removed from the squad. Additionally, Chamika Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews did not find a place in the new team.
The exclusion of Dhananjaya de Silva has been specifically addressed by the selectors. They have stated that de Silva has been underutilized at the lower order, where 43 of his 81 ODI innings have been played. The selectors are considering his inclusion if a position becomes available higher up the order.
Chief selector Upul Tharanga mentioned, “We feel Dhananjaya de Silva can perform better in the top three, where he has time to bat longer.”
It has been noted that Wanindu Hasaranga’s addition is subject to fitness, as he is still recovering from hamstring surgery. Maheesh Theekshana is expected to lead the spin-bowling unit in his absence.
Vandersay and Dananjaya, who haven’t played ODI cricket for a while, have been included in an effort to strengthen Sri Lanka’s spin-bowling stocks. While Dananjaya has been performing well in domestic cricket, the selectors want to assess his performance at the international level, especially given the challenges of handling spinners on Sri Lanka’s pitches.
“In the last couple of seasons Akila Dananjaya has been picking up wickets, and we also need a backup plan for the likes of Maheesh Theekshana and Wanindu Hasaranga,” selector Ajantha Mendis said.
Avishka Fernando’s addition provides more firepower to the batting unit, and he is expected to partner with Pathum Nissanka at the top of the order. The middle order will be led by Mendis and will include Sadeera Samarawickrama and new vice-captain Charith Asalanka.
Dasun Shanaka’s inconsistent form has led to uncertainty in the lower order, and Sri Lanka is hoping that Arachchige, Nuwanidu, and Liyanage can fill that gap with their impressive performances in domestic and Premier League cricket.
The fast-bowling unit will be led by Dushmantha Chameera and Dilshan Madushanka, with Pramod Madushan as the backup.
Sri Lanka ODI squad: Kusal Mendis (capt.), Charith Asalanka, Pathum Nissanka, Avishka Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Sahan Arachchige, Nuwanidu Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Janith Liyanage, Maheesh Theekshana, Dilshan Madushanka, Dushmantha Chameera, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Wanindu Hasaranga (subject to fitness)