By Champika Fernando
Sri Lankan selectors have dropped former skipper Angelo Mathews and veteran seamer Lasith Malinga from the One-Day International squad for the five-match series against Pakistan in UAE.
Angelo Mathews has been ruled out with a calf injury. Mathews suffered an injury during training ahead of team’s departure to UAE and was initially ruled out of the opening Test. However, his rehabilitation has not been successful and will miss the ODIs as well.
"Ünfortuantely, the rehabilitation takes much longer than expected," said Mathews
Malinga’s axing was expected after he has shown poor form since coming back to the side in June.
The 34-year-old who returned to the ODI side, having been sidelined for nearly two years with a knee injury has managed only ten wickets in 13 matches at 62.32 the main reasons for his axing from the side. Malinga has conceded 623 runs at an economy of six runs per over. He is, however, expected to join the T20 squad where Sri Lanka will play three matches against Pakistan, including the last one in Lahore, Pakistan. Also missing from the squad is Danushka Gunathilaka, a left-handed opener who has had a decent run with the bat. He averages 42.41 in 12 ODIs this year and shared two double century partnerships with Niroshan Dickwella in the series against Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal has earned a recall to the ODI team following his match-winning performance against Pakistan in the opening Test in Abu Dhabi. Chandimal scored a painstaking 155 in the first innings and then led Sri Lanka masterfully to defend a low score of 136 to win by 21 runs. Chamara Kapugedara also retains his place in the side, despite missing the last ODI against India with an injury.
Meanwhile, the selectors have brought in Jeffrey Vandersay in place of Lakshan Sandakan for the Pakistan series. Sandakan who is currently in the Test squad is not likely to be considered for white-ball cricket given his economy rate of 6.52. In his 10 outings since the debut against Australia last year, the Chinaman had picked up only 11 wickets at 44.54.
Akila Dhananjaya who has had a decent outing against India has retained his place along with all-rounders Seekkuge Prasanna and Milinda Siriwardana.
Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera retained his place in the ODI squad and he will be joined by Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep and Vishwa Fernando as the other frontline seam bowlers.
The first of five ODIs begins on October 13, in Dubai.
Squad- Upul Tharanga – Captain, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Mendis, Milinda Siriwardana, Chamara Kapugedera, Thisara Perera, Seekkuge Prasanna, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay
More to follow.....