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Sri Lankan squad for T20 series has five uncapped players

571   //    24 Jul 2015, 10:34 IST
Kapugendera has been roped in to lend his experience

Sri Lanka's squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan has thrown up a surprise. The squad includes five uncapped players – fast bowler  Binura Fernando, legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay and batsmen Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka, and Dhananjaya de Silva.

"We need to get the younger brigade in the stream, so we have a gradual transition leading up to the next World T20 and the 50-over World Cup beyond that," chief selector Kapila Wijegunawardene said, according to ESPNcricinfo. "We need to put them on the ground and see how they perform."

Nuwan Kulasekara and Chamara Kapugedera have also been picked. Kulasekara wasn’t picked for the ongoing one-day series. Kapugendera, too, has last played a T20 in 2012.

Fernando has only played seven first-class matches, but his future is seen as promising due to his pace and his height, which makes him tower over most players at a lean six and a half feet. He is expected to be a great fast bowler. Vandersay, too does not have the benefit of extensive experience, but he has performed excellently recently, taking eight wickets for 167 against Pakistan in a three-day warm-up match.

De Silva and Jayasuriya are batsmen who deliver, as well as bowl well. Jayasuriya’s recent performance against Pakistan A in May received mixed responses. But he has performed well on the part of Colts Cricket Club. De Silva, on the other hand, plays for the Ports Authority Cricket Club. De Silva took three wickets and scored 154 runs over five innings. Shankara does not have much experience on the domestic circuit, but according to the Chief Selector, he possesses  "ability to clear the ropes at will, which is a skill displayed at recent practice matches."

Wijegunawardane acknowledges that just having young players is not enough, experience is a must too. This is where Kapugedera comes in, apart from the fact that he hits boundaries with an eloquence seldom seen. "With all these youngsters coming into the team we also need to balance the team with experience. Kapugedera has not been in the team for a while, but we know he can do that, and we've picked him on that basis", he said. Kapugedera has played in 21 T20 internationals and 92 ODIs.

He cleared that air by saying that Chandimal and Thirimanne’s conclusion does not mean that they will not be under consideration for the World T20. "Chandimal and Thirimanne needed to prepare for the upcoming India Test series which is a very important one. Offspinner Tharindu Kaushal we are also saving for the Tests. We're trying to manage all their workloads because we have a very busy calendar till July next year."

Dushmantha Chameera is still out of consideration due to injury. 

Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (Capt), TM Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardene

Sri Lanka have held on to their spot as the top T20 team in the world. The two matches in the series will be played at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo, on July 30 and August 1, respectively.