Hosts Sri Lanka have announced a 15-man squad for the upcoming Nidahas Trophy T20 tri-series that also features India and Bangladesh. In a major exclusion, wicket-keeper Niroshan Dickwella has been dropped from the team which already had veteran bowler Lasith Malinga absent from the preliminary 20-member squad announced yesterday.
While dropping Malinga, however, Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors Graham Labrooy had told Cricbuzz, "He is certainly in our plans for 2019 World Cup, but we want him to play more games. We want him to play the current T20 competition and then the one-day tournament after that."
The team will be led by Dinesh Chandimal as regular captain Angelo Mathews recovers from the latest among a string of injuries – this time a hurt calf while undergoing rehabilitation has ruled him out of the series. With Dickwella not featuring in the team, the wicket-keeping duties will, in all probability, be taken up by Kusal Perera, another impactful limited-overs batsman.
Test vice-captain Suranga Lakmal has also been named the deputy of the T20I side for the tri-series which begins on March 6. The four other names, aside from Dickwella, which Sri Lanka's selectors have chosen to eliminate from the initial choice of twenty players are Asitha Fernando, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay and Lahiru Kumara.
The tournament, scheduled to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th Independence Day, will feature round-robin matches between the three sides with the final to be held on March 18. All seven matches, including the final, will be held at the R Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Sri Lanka squad: Dinesh Chandimal (c), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeewan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal (vc), Isuru Udana, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera and Dananjaya De Silva.