Milinda Siriwardana, Jeffrey Vandersay and Jeevan Mendis made remarkable comebacks as Sri Lanka announced their 15-strong squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 on Thursday, 18 April.
Siriwardana and Vandersay last played one-day internationals in October 2017, while Jeevan Mendis' previous appearance in the format came in the 2015 World Cup match against Afghanistan.
However, many of the regulars, including Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Upul Tharanga and Akila Dananjaya, were excluded from the squad altogether, with Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Kasun Rajitha, and Wanindu Hasaranga placed on standby.
The axe from the selectors is probably a result of Sri Lanka's recent tour to South Africa, where they succumbed to a 5-0 defeat in the ODI series. Kusal Mendis and Oshada Fernando, Sri Lanka's highest run-scorers in that series, have been selected in the World Cup squad.
Angelo Matthews, one of the most experienced members with 218 ODI appearances to his name, made a comeback to the squad after being dropped from the ODI set-up last year over fitness concerns. Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeewan Mendis and Siriwardana complete the all-rounder contingent.
Malinga, who was named skipper for the South Africa tour, will spearhead their bowling attack in the tournament, with Dimuth Karunaratne replacing him at the helm. Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal slot into the seam department, while Vandersay comes in as the only specialist spin-bowler.
Though Malinga is named in the squad, his participation hangs in the balance after selectors decided to strip him off the captaincy. Malinga has threatened to retire from international cricket if, he is not given the captaincy.
Squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (Capt.), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimane, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dananjaya De Silva, Jeffrey Vandersay, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Lasith Malinga, Jeevan Mendis, Milinda Siriwardena
Stand By: Oshada Fernando, Angelo Perera, Kasun Rajitha, Wanindu Hasaranga