As earlier reported, Sri Lanka have rested five senior players for the 3-match T20 series against India from February 9 to February 14. Dinesh Chandimal continues to be stand-in captain, and Tillakaratne Dilshan is part of the squad as well. The biggest surprise inclusion, however, in the 15-man squad is the presence of Dilhara Fernando.
36-year-old pacer Fernando last played for Sri Lanka in a Test in July 2012, and is not a name that has been heard too often after his last international appearance. With Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara and Nuwan Pradeep sideline with injury, the veteran has been brought in to lend some experience to the bowling attack.
The new faces in the side are Asela Gunaratne and Kasun Rajitha.
Fernando recalled after 4 years
Fernando had burst onto the scene with his dazzling pace as early as in 2000, and over the next decade would prove himself to be the fastest bowler from his country yet, sometimes bowling at over 150 kph. He formed a feared bowling attack alongside Chaminda Vaas for many years, but injuries and a penchant for no-balls hindered him from achieving Vaas’ legendary status, or even the seniority attained by Lasith Malinga.
Fernando has 305 international wickets from 204 international appearances, but he is more remembered for the raw pace he started out with, and then the highly deceptive slower delivery he mastered, a delivery which he bowled using a split-finger grip. He could never fulfill the potential that was once visible in him.
He did manage to make numerous comebacks as injuries put him out of the side again and again, and at the age of 36, he has been given one more chance. If he can put in a good shift in India, it is likely he will be called up for the Asia Cup and the World T20 soon after the series.
Squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Seekuge Prasanna, Milinda Siriwardana, Danushka Gunathilaka, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Asela Gunaratne, Chamara Kapugedera, Dushmantha Chameera, Dilhara Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Binura Fernando, Sachithra Senanayake, Jeffrey Vandersay