by Champika Fernando
National cricket selectors have picked rookie fast bowler Shehan Madushanka for the 16-man squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh. Back in the side are Tests skipper Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis and leg-spinning all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga.
Madushanka, 22, who has just three first-class matches under his belts comes to the side purely on his pace. The young seamer regularly breaches a speed of 140kmph and was considered as a long-term investment.
“We need at least seven seamers with at least 15 matches under their belt for the World Cup. We will be playing World Cup in England and we need pace,” said coach Chandika Hathurusingha. It was Chandika Hathurusingha who has influenced the selectors to get Madushanka to the side.
“It’s a long-term strategy. He might not bowl in Bangladesh. But we need to have him in the squad,” he added.
Chandimal's return to the side, too, has been influenced by the coach as he is part of coach’s long-term plan. Despite a terrific run in ODI cricket in 2016, Chandimal struggled to find his place in the side following year. He was often criticized for having a poor strike rate. But coach believes Chandimal can improve his batting and find a permanent place in the side.
Kusal Mendis also comes back to the side having missed the Indian series after hitting a 177 for Colts CC.
Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Wanindu Hasaranga.