Colombo: Star leg-spinner Wanindu Hasaranga, wicketkeeper-batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa, top-order batter Nuwanidu Fernando and right-arm seamer Matheesha Pathirana have returned to Sri Lanka’s T20I squad for the series against Australia.
Hasaranga was initially picked for the tour of India earlier this year but missed the fixtures due to covid, while Rajapaksa had been left out due to fitness concerns. On the spin front, Sri Lanka are led by Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana, who both had successful stints at the IPL. Hasaranga had a particularly excellent season, picking up 26 wickets at an economy rate of 7.54. He was one wicket off claiming the purple cap.
Nuwanidu and Pathirana have come into the side having impressed with their overseas performances. Pathirana, who was impressive at the U-19 World Cup, has a similarly slingy bowling action to Sri Lanka legend Lasith Malinga. The right-arm quick featured in two fixtures for the CSK and was lauded highly by none other than MS Dhoni.
However, there are no places for allrounder Dhananajaya de Silva, fast bowler Lahiru Kumara, or wicketkeeper batters Dinesh Chandimal and Niroshand Dickwella. Kusal Mendis is likely to take the gloves.
Making a return to the T20 squad, also, are seamer Kasun Rajitha and left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan. Legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay has, like Dickwella, been relegated to the standby players list. Avishka Fernando and Kusal Perera remain unavailable through injury. Neither have played a competitive match for months.
The three-match series begins on June 7, at Khettarama (Colombo).
Squad: Dasun Shanaka (C), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Nuwanidu Fernando, Lahiru Madushanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Nuwan Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan.