Following confusion because of bureaucratic reasons, Sri Lanka have named a squad of 16 players, led by Thisara Perera, for the three-match One-Day International series against India starting soon after the completion of the ongoing Test series.
Reports on Tuesday (December 5) morning said that the squad members who are not already in India for the Tests were prevented from boarding the flight on Monday night because Dayasiri Jayasekera, the Sri Lankan sports minister, had not yet approved the list, as is the norm under the Sports Law in the island nation.
From that list of players, announced to the media in the morning, Jeffrey Vandersay, the young legspinner who was flown in for the Tests once Rangana Herath dropped out because of a back injury, was left out of the final touring party. Instead, Dhananjaya de Silva and Kusal Perera were added and the squad expanded from 15 to 16.
Squad: Thisara Perera (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Sadeera Samarawickrama, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Asela Gunaratne, Chathuranga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera.
Making the final – Jayasekera ratified – list public, a Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) statement explained: “Due to a delay in submitting the list of selected players to the ratification of the Honourable Minister as per the regulations of the Sport Law owing to the long weekend, the selected players were unable to travel to India yesterday as was originally scheduled, and will depart today instead.”
Of the members of the Test squad, Lahiru Thirimanne, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Sadeera Samarawickrama and de Silva will stay on for the series, starting with the first game in Dharamsala on December 10.
The ones joining them with just four days to go for the first match, apart from Thisara, are Kusal, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chaturanga de Silva, Akila Dananjaya, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera and Sachith Pathirana.
Dinesh Chandimal, the Test captain who scored 164 in Sri Lanka’s first innings in the ongoing third Test in New Delhi, was surprisingly left out of the squad, while Gunaratne, the allrounder, and Gunathilaka, the opening batsman, returned to the side that has lost 21 ODIs this year and won just four. Gunaratne was back in the side for the first time since being injured in July while playing India in Galle. He will strengthen the batting order alongside Mathews, the former skipper who came back after having missed the last ODI series against Pakistan through injury.
SLC last week named Thisara Perera as one-day captain in place of Tharanga, under whom Sri Lanka suffered three consecutive ODI whitewashes this year against South Africa, India and Pakistan.
1st ODI: December 10, Dharamsala
2nd ODI: December 13, Mohali
3rd ODI: December 17, Visakhapatnam