The national cricket selectors have made sweeping changes to the national squad by sacking its skipper and several other misfiring players for the two-match Test series in South Africa.
These changes come in the wake of team’s disastrous performance in the last three series in which they lost six of the seven matches played. Vice-captain Dimuth Karunaratne has been named as stand-in-skipper while Niroshan Dickwella has been named the vice-captain for the series which begins on February 13 in Durban.
Skipper Chanidmal had scored just 24 runs in four innings during Sri Lanka’s 2-0 defeat at the hands of Australia after he promoted himself to bat at number three--a position long held by batting great, Kumar Sangakkara.
There is no place for Roshen Silva or Sadeera Samarawickrema in the 17-man squad announced yesterday. It sees the inclusion of Angelo Perere, who struck two double centuries in a match last week, bowling allrounder Milinda Siriwardana, rookie batsman Oshada Fernando, medium fast bowler Mohamed Shiraz and spinner Lasith Embuldeniya. With three of the front-line seamers out of the series due to injuries-the selectors had no option but to name an inexperience attack for the series. Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara and Dushmantha Chameera sustained injuries during the Australian series.
Dimuth Karunaratne (Stand-in-Skipper) Niroshan Dickwella (Vice-Captain), Lahiru Thirimanne, Kaushal Silva, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Milinda Siriwardana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohamed Shiraz, Lakshan Sandakan and Lasith Embildeniya