In a massive blow to Sri Lanka, ahead of their two-Test series in New Zealand, Dhammika Prasad, their frontline seamer has been ruled out due to a back injury. Prasad sustained the injury during a tour game against New Zealand Board President’s XI.
Uncapped left-arm quickie, Vishwa Fernando has been called in as a replacement for Prasad. Fernando, who had travelled with the Sri Lanka squad to their tours of the UAE and Bangladesh in 2014, was also named for the home series against India in August but did not get an opportunity.
Fernando had shone into the limelight after his performance in the Premier League, Sri Lanka’s first-class competition, when he picked up 40 wickets at 12.97 during the 2014-15 season.
He was also the second highest wicket-taker in the two unofficial Tests for Sri Lanka A against New Zealand A, in October.
Meanwhile, the injury to Prasad comes as a major setback for Sri Lanka, as the veteran seamer had led the Sri Lankan attack since Lasith Malinga’s retirement from Tests. He has been a penetrative bowler and a wicket-taker with the new ball, as well as with the old one.
The injured seamer in unlikely to be fit in time for the ODIs, and although Fernando has been called up for the Tests, he is likely to remain for the ODIs as well.
Sri Lanka are touring New Zealand for two Tests, five ODIs and two T20s, with the first Test starting from December 10, at the University Oval, Dunedin.