What’s the story?
Sri Lanka Cricket have declared that Upul Tharanga will lead the national side for the five-match ODI series against South Africa which begins on Wednesday.
Dinesh Chandimal was expected to captain the side in the series and this decision came as a surprise to many. Previously Tharanga captained Sri Lanka in five ODIs, leading them to three victories.
In case you did not know..
The left-handed opener would take the duties from injured skipper Angelo Mathews. The latter who is Sri Lanka’s regular skipper was sidelined due to a hamstring injury after the second Twenty20 International (T20I) against South Africa at the Wanderers.
The talismanic all-rounder sustained the injury when he had to dive in to make his ground. He made a brilliant 54, even though he was struggling to run between wickets. A few days back Mathews had also informed the team management that he needed some time off to be with his family.
The heart of the matter
The Sri Lankan cricket board has declared opening batsman Upul Tharanga as the captain for the five match-ODI series against South Africa which will begin from Wednesday at Port Elizabeth.
The choice is quite a surprising one as many critics had predicted that Dinesh Chandimal would be the perfect one to fill in Mathews’ shoes.
Also, Nuwan Pradeep and Dhanushka Gunathilaka will miss the series due to injuries. In place of them wicket-keeper batsman Sandun Weerakkody, Lahiru Madushanka, the 24-year-old pacer and Chathuranga de Silva, the all-rounder, have been drafted into the squad.
Chathuranga has featured in six ODIs so far for Sri Lanka, but Weerakkody and Madushanka are yet to make their international debuts in the dark blue jersey.
Hopefully, the 31-year-old Tharanga will be able to bring in the same passion with which Mathews led the side. Tharanga is known to be a quiet person, and it will be interesting to see how he handles the team. Also, South Africa are a brilliant side at home if Sri Lanka are to give them a run for their money Tharanga also needs to come good with the bat.
Whether the captaincy burden will affect his batting? Only time can tell.
It is indeed a brave decision from the Sri Lankan board who believe Tharanga is the right man for the job. It is nice to see them thinking out of the box and changing things around.
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