Sri Lanka cricket board on Wednesday announced the 15-member squad for the upcoming five-match ODI series against England, which will start from October 10. Angelo Mathews, who was heavily criticised for Sri Lanka’s poor show in the ongoing Asia Cup, has been left out from the squad. After Sri Lanka failed to register a single win in Asia Cup, following defeats against Bangladesh and then Afghanistan, Mathews was sacked from the captaincy and the responsiblity was handed over to Dinesh Chandimal.
Mathews slammed the cricket board’s decision and claimed that he was made a ‘scapegoat’ in the Asia Cup saga. The all-rounder in his resignation letter wrote, “Though I was initially surprised, it was immediately felt that I have been made the scapegoat in this entire saga of Sri Lanka’s dismal performances against Bangladesh and Afghanistan in the Asia Cup.” Mathews, however, has been retained in the 16-man Test squad for the three-match Test series against England, which will start from November 6.
Suranga Lakmal and Kusal Mendis have been opted out of the squad. Kusal Mendis, who opened Sri Lanka’s innings in both the matches in Asia Cup, was unable to get off the mark in both instances.
Sadeera Samarawickrama, who made his ODI debut last year against Pakistan, replaces Mathews. The middle order batsman has been in good touch in this season’s domestic encounters, scoring runs at an average of 59.2. Nuwan Pradeep, who last played an ODI in January this year, will make a comeback. Lakshan Sandakan has also been recalled in the squad.
Kaushal Silva has been included in the Test squad. His last Test match was against Pakistan in 2017. Malinda Pushpakumara, who has been very impressive with the ball in domestic competition, has also been added in the squad. The left-arm spinner has 668 wickets under his name, with an average of 19.46. He has included in the starting eleven when Sri Lanka played a couple of Tests against India last year.
Sri Lanka will play five ODIs, three Tests and one T20I against England. The action will start from October 10, when both the teams will play the first ODI of the series in Dambulla. The ODI-series will be followed by a single T20 match and the longer format of the game will start from November 6 in Galle.
ODI squad: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Upul Tharanga, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Lasith Malinga, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Kasun Rajitha, Kusal Perera.
Test squad: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Dimuth Karunaratne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Dilruwan Perera, Rangana Herath, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara*, Lakshan Sandakan, Niroshan Dickwella.