SL announce squad for Afghanistan ODIs, recall youngster Dhananjaya Lakshan
Sri Lanka officially announced a 15-man squad for their upcoming three-match ODI series against Afghanistan a day before the opener. Dhananjaya Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Ashen Bandara, and Lahiru Kumara have been recalled to the 50-over side. Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who was included in the squad, has opted out to take a break from ODI cricket. Meanwhile, Danushka Gunathilaka remains suspended after facing sexual assault charges.
A look at SL's updated squad
SL's squad for Afghanistan ODIs: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dunith Wellalage, Dananjaya Lakshan, Kasun Rajitha, Maheesh Theekshana, Pramod Madushan, Asitha Fernando, Ashen Bandara, Lahiru Kumara.
These players will miss the series
The likes of Chamika Karunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Nuwan Thushara, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay, and Lahiru Madushanka have been excluded from the squad. Meanwhile, senior pacer Dushmantha Chameera is yet to recover after undergoing surgery in Australia. He had been struggling with a long-term injury. SL will miss the services of star all-rounder Rajapaksa, who has been released from the squad.
Karunaratne, Gunathilaka remain suspended
Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has handed bowling all-rounder Chamika Karunaratne a one-year ban after he breached the player agreement during the 2022 ICC T20 World Cup. As per ESPNcricinfo, the exact nature of the violation is yet to be ascertained. Meanwhile, Gunathilaka was arrested in Australia on charges of sexual assault. He has been banned from all forms of cricket.
Lakshan has been in decent form
Lakshan, the bowling all-rounder, comes in as a like-for-like replacement for Karunaratne. The seam-bowling all-rounder has fared well in First-Class cricket lately. He starred in the inaugural Lanka Premier League with noteworthy performances. Lakshan finished as the second-highest wicket-taker of the tournament, having taken 13 scalps. Lakshan, who played his only ODI in 2021, will aim to cement his spot in the white-ball sides.
Pallekele to host the first ODI
The Pallekele International Cricket Stadium will host the 1st ODI. Sides batting second have won 19 of the 33 ODIs here with the average first-innings score being 248. As the track is known to favor spinners, scoring runs in the middle overs would be a challenge for both sides. The match will get underway at 2:30 PM IST. Fans can live-stream it at ICC.tv.