By Bipin Dani
Sri Lanka's chief selector Pramodya Wickramasinghe denied media reports that former captain Mahela Jayawardane, now on duty in the IPL in India, telephoned him and tried to influence the inclusion of left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya into the national squad.
Wickramasinghe said, "It is all rubbish. None of us in the selection committee had ever received a call from Mahela. This I confirm after checking with my fellow selectors".
"I guess few people are trying to spoil our image,” he added.
Jayawardane too denied the new report, though he refused to comment at length.
"I don't respond to gossip. You speak to the chairman of selectors,” he said.
Interestingly, not only Jayasuriya but eight others also had fitness tests prior to the selection committee meeting, it is also learnt.
Three players Avishka Fernando, Mohamed Shiraz and Jayasuriya failed their fitness tests, while Praveen Jayawickrama was selected ahead of four others, namely Charith Asalanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Binura Fernando and Nishan Madhushka, who all passed their tests.