Sri Lankan left-hand batsman Upul Tharanga has been selected as the stand-in skipper of Sri Lanka for the upcoming One-Day International tri-series, featuring Zimbabwe and West Indies, the Sri Lankan national selectors announced on Saturday. The seven-match tournament in Zimbabwe is set to kick-off on November 14.
Wicket-keeper Kusal Janith Perera has been appointed the vice-captain in the 15-man squad which also sees veteran pacer Nuwan Kulasekara handed a recall.
Tharanga scored a century in Sri Lanka's victory in the first Test against Zimbabwe at Harare that concluded earlier this week, which Sri Lanka went on to win by 225 runs. The 31-year old made a comeback to the one-day team earlier this year, when Sri Lanka were on the tour of England and Ireland, but was dropped for the home series against Australia, where he featured only in the last ODI after the Lankans had lost the series.
The selectors were put in a difficult position, with the absence of regular skipper Angelo Matthews, who pulled out of the Zimbabwe tour after MRI scans revealed multiple leg injuries. In his absence, veteran spinner Rangana Herath was elected the stand-in captain for the ongoing test series.
The all-rounder’s regular deputy Dinesh Chandimal also misses out due to a thumb injury. The wicket-keeper batsman underwent a surgery recently and there were reports of him being able to make a complete recovery and be available for the ODI series, after missing out from the test squad, but it has been confirmed now that he will not play a part in the tri-series as well.
30-year old all-rounder Asela Gunaratne and 19-year old pacer Lahiru Kumara, who both made their debuts in the first test at Harare, have earned a maiden call-up for the ODI squad, while the likes of Shehan Jayasuriya and spinner Jeffrey Vandersay have earned a recall. Nuwan Pradeep also has recovered from a hamstring strain and returns to the squad.
Kulasekara, who announced his test retirement earlier in June, to continue his limited-overs career, played for Sri Lanka in an ODI last against New Zealand in January.
However, there was no place in the 15-man squad for left-arm spinner Amila Aponso, who made his debut against Australia and finished the series with 7 scalps.
The Lankans will face hosts Zimbabwe in their first match, on November 14.
Sri Lanka squad: Upul Tharanga (c), Kusal Janith Perera (wk & v/c), Dhananjaya De Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Shehan Jayasuriya, Asela Gunaratne, Sachith Pathirana, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dasun Shanaka, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Suranga Lakmal, Lakshan Sandakan, Jeffrey Vandersay