ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Lasith Malinga included in Sri Lanka's squad despite losing captaincy; Dinesh Chandimal misses out

Lasith Malinga was replaced as captain by Dimuth Karunaratne, who leads the Test team but hasn't played an ODI since the 2015 World Cup. The surprising move continued the ongoing turmoil in Sri Lankan cricket, which is also being investigated for large-scale corruption by the ICC.

Press Trust of India, Apr 18, 2019 16:55:23 IST

Colombo: Sacked as skipper, pacer Lasith Malinga was on Thursday named in Sri Lanka's 15-strong World Cup squad and the country's embattled cricket board hoped that the veteran will put behind the disappointment to show up for the team.

The 35-year-old Malinga was replaced as captain by Dimuth Karunaratne, who leads the Test team but hasn't played an ODI since the 2015 World Cup. The surprising move continued the ongoing turmoil in Sri Lankan cricket, which is also being investigated for large-scale corruption by the ICC.

ICC Cricket World Cup 2019: Lasith Malinga included in Sri Lankas squad despite losing captaincy; Dinesh Chandimal misses out

File image of Sri Lanka's Lasith Malinga. AP

"We hope he would play for the country," Sri Lanka Cricket chief Shammi Silva said while announcing the squad amid speculation that Malinga, who is currently with IPL franchise Mumbai Indians, will quit.

"I spoke to him on the telephone and explained to him the reasons," added Asantha de Mel, the Chairman of selectors.

The team was most recently hammered by South Africa in an away limited-overs series. Sri Lanka start their World Cup campaign on June 1 at Cardiff against New Zealand. They are due to play two warm-up games against South Africa and Australia before that.

De Mel said captaincy was not working out for Malinga and he struggled to make the team a cohesive unit.

"He was performing alright, but was not able to lead the others," de Mel explained.

Sri Lanka's World Cup squad features quite a few comeback players, led by Karunaratne.

Jeevan Mendis, the 35-year-old all-rounder, last played a one-day international also at the World Cup four years ago.

The 33-year-old Milinda Siriwardena's most recent ODI appearance was back in 2017.

Jeffrey Vandersay, the 29-year-old leg-spinner played his last one-dayer in 2017 alongside the 30-year-old 117-match veteran Lahiru Thirimanne.

De Mel said Sri Lanka's openers have been dismal in the ODIs resulting in their poor ratings currently.

"Our opening batsmen have been failing very regularly, this meant we have been losing far too many wickets in the first 10 overs," de Mel said on the inclusion of three openers -- captain Karunaratne, Thirimanne and Avishka Fernando.

Karunaratne said the team needs to bat solidly in the first 10 overs which would enable explosive batsmen to chase 300-plus totals, now becoming the norm in ODI cricket.

Kusal Janith Perera will be the wicket-keeper and he could also be used an opener if required.

"We needed batsmen with bowling ability at number 6 and 7 positions," de Mel said explaining the inclusion of Siriwardena.

De Mel said they picked two leg-spinners — Mendis and Vandersay — as English conditions are expected to assist leg spinners more than off-spinners.

The Sri Lanka squad for the World Cup; Dimuth Karunaratne (Captain), Lasith Malinga, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Mendis, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardena, Avishka Fernando, Jeevan Mendis, Lahiru Thirimanne, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Pradeep and Suranga Lakmal.

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Updated Date: Apr 18, 2019 16:55:23 IST






Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5046 120
2 Australia 4320 108
3 England 5253 105
4 New Zealand 3449 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
6 Sri Lanka 4191 91
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5442 111
5 Australia 5854 110
6 Pakistan 5019 98
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 6986 269
3 England 6095 265
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 5248 262
6 New Zealand 7114 245