Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal returned to the Sri Lanka ODI squad while Angelo Mathews was re-appointed captain for the tri series against Zimbabwe and host nation Bangladesh starting 15th of January 2017.
Rookie fast bowlers Lahiru Madushanka was included in the 16 man squad for the very first time.
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.
With Hathurusingha as selector on tour, Sri Lanka made a couple of controversial calls, deciding to drop Sadeera Samarawickrama and Lasith Malinga. Instead, Wanindu Hasaranga and Lakshan Sandakan were recalled after a break.
Sri Lanka has plenty of option upfront but the unsteady middle order has often collapsed, resulting in total meltdown in the latter part of 2017.
As a result, the selectors have restored hope on Kusal Mendis and Test captain Dinesh Chandimal.
How we think Sri Lanka should line up for the first ODI,
Dinesh Chandimal/Wanindu Hasaranga/Niroshan Dickwella
Kusal Perera/Niroshan Dickwella
Shehan Madushanka/Nuwan Pradeep
Danushka Gunathilaka will have the edge over Niroshan Dickwella with the ability to bowl right arm off breaks. Moreover, Asela Gunaratne’s contribution with the ball will be vital for Sri Lanka as they play with just four front line bowlers.
Shehan Madushanka might make his debut, but it’s hard to tell with Nuwan Pradeep in the squad.
“He’s got pace and you can’t coach that. When we go to the next World Cup, we’ll need about seven or eight fast bowlers who have played at least 15 ODIs each. We’ve chosen Madushanka as a player we might use in the long-term,” said coach Hathurusingha to ESPN.
With plenty of batting options, selectors may go for either Chandimal or Mendis instead of playing both, making way for Niroshan Dickwella or Wanindu Hasaranga who made a memorable debut against Zimbabwe in 2017.
Despite losing to Zimbabwe last year, Sri Lanka will have the upper hand in the 1st ODI on January 17.
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