Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have sprung a number of shocks with their team selection for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup, including the omissions of former captain Dinesh Chandimal, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella and off-spinner Akila Dananjaya.
The 15-man Sri Lanka squad includes batsman Lahiru Thirimanne, leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay, and spin-bowling all-rounders Milinda Siriwardana and Jeevan Mendis, all of whom have recently been out of favour when it comes to ODI selection.
Opening batsmen Danushka Gunathilaka and Upul Tharanga were also overlooked by the selectors as Sri Lanka look to reverse their worrying trend in 2019, having lost all eight ODIs they have played.
On Wednesday, SLC axed Lasith Malinga as captain and replaced him with Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who has not played an ODI in more than four years.
Chairman of selectors Asantha de Mel said they wanted “somebody who can get the team together” at the mega event in England and Wales.
Sri Lanka will fine-tune preparations for the World Cup with two ODIs against Scotland, on May 18 and 21 and will follow it up with warm-up fixtures against South Africa and Australia. The 1996 champions begin their title challenge against New Zealand at the Sophia Gardens in Cardiff on June 1.
Sri Lanka’s squad for the World Cup:
Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Avishka Fernando, Lahiru Thirimanne, Kusal Perera (wk), Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Jeevan Mendis, Malinda Siriwardana, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Isuru Udana, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Pradeep.
Standbys: Oshada Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Wanindu Hasaranga and Angelo Perera