Rookie fast bowler Shehan Madushanka has been picked in Sri Lanka’s 16-man squad for the tri-series in Bangladesh, while the likes of Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis and legspinning-allrounder Wanindu Hasaranga make their returns.
Madushanka, 22, has played only three first-class games and three List A matches, but was picked primarily on the promise of his pace. With Dushmantha Chameera also in the 16, Sri Lanka believe they have two bowlers capable of regularly breaching 140kph. It was new coach Chandika Hathurusingha who took an interest in Madushanka, before suggesting to the selectors that he be groomed with the 2019 World Cup in mind.
“He’s got pace and you can’t coach that,” Hathurusingha said. “When we go to the next World Cup, we’ll need about seven or eight fast bowlers who have played at least 15 ODIs each. We’ve chosen Madushanka as a player we might use in the long-term.”
Chandimal’s return despite poor form in 2017 is also a long-term move, the selectors and Hathurusingha said. Among the major criticisms of Chandimal is that he bats too slowly in limited-overs cricket, and his dips in form can also be lengthy. Hathurusingha, however, has spoken of helping Chandimal regain the spark and belligerence he had shown in 2010, when he first arrived in international cricket. That aggression has at times been showcased in Tests, but has only rarely been seen in limited-overs cricket, such as when he hit 52 not out off 24 balls in a World Cup match against Australia in Sydney.
Mendis returns to the squad on the back of a little domestic form. He hit 177 for Colombo Cricket Club in a first-class match in mid-December. Hathurusingha is understood to have pushed to have him included in the squad as well.
Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Wanindu Hasaranga.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.