After a disastrous Australia tour, where Sri Lanka suffered humiliating defeats in both the tests, the selectors are mulling over wholesale changes for the upcoming South tour, Cricket Age reliably learns.
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play two tests, five ODIs and three T20I against the Proteas, with first test starting from February 13.
According to sources, the Sports Minister Harin Fernando, selectors and Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) all have collectively agreed to bring wholesale changes in the test, ODI, T20 squads as well as in the team management and coaching staff.
Accordingly, captain Dinesh Chandimal will be given much needed ‘rest’ from test captaincy, as he has been failed miserably to bring Sri Lanka Cricket glory back. More importantly, in the last two series – against New Zealand and Australia – his own batting form has declined significantly. He could manage only 68 runs in four innings against New Zealand with a paltry average of 22.66. Against Australia, he struggled even more, with just 24 runs in four innings with a dismal average of 6. Chandimal’s recent international scores reads 4, 15, 0, 5, 3, 10, 56, 6, 6, 1, 33 and 26 with no fifty plus score.
That has prompted selectors to take some harsh decision about Chandimal, even though he is the captain of the test side. In his absence, Dimuth Karunaratne, the most successful Sri Lanka player in test cricket in last two years, is tipped to be given the responsibility to lead the side.
As Cricket Age had published yesterday itself, Roshane Silva and Sadeera Samarwikrama will also be dropped from the test side, while domestic run-machine Oshada Fernando, veteran test opener Kaushal Silva and middle order batsman Milinda Siriwardena are likely to be included in the squad.
The Shorter formats squads will have more changes! According to sources, young batting sensation Avishka Fernando, Kamindu Mendis and Angelo Perera will be included in the ODI team for the South Africa series. In addition, experienced Upul Tharanga is also likely to be recalled for the proteas challenge.
In bowling department, Mohammed Shiraz, one of the most consistent fast bowler in domestic cricket for last two – three seasons now, is likely to be given the maiden call up!
Avishka, who had made his rather infamous debut against Australia in 2016 at just 17 year of age, has been in form of his life in this season. He mustered 523 runs in the five match series against Ireland with three whirlwind hundreds recently and carried his form in the first class cricket as well, with a blistering double hundred for Colts Cricket Club.
Kamindu Mendis, who has also already made his international debut, was another standout performer against Ireland with bat and ball.
Tharanga, who led the Sri Lanka A side against Ireland, has not been in the scheme of things of selectors lately. However, like Avishka Fernando, he also made his claim for yet another comeback with some scintillating knocks against Ireland.
Angelo Perera, who has played handful of ODIs for Sri Lanka in past, has just created a history by scoring two double centuries in a single first class game for Nondescript Cricket Club. A stylish right-hander, he posses immense talent and has leadership skills as well, as he leads his club in domestic cricket.
Mohammed Shiraz, of Colts Cricket Club, has been one of the most consistent fast bowler in domestic cricket in last few years and is regularly knocking the door of national team.
Not only the team composition, the national team coaching and management setup is also set for some major changes.
“The debacle against Australia will not be taken lightly. If the players are responsible for the dreadful results, than the coaching staff and team management is also equally responsible” a top SLC official told Cricket Age.
Accordingly, team manager Jerry Woutersz is likely to be replaced with a former Sri Lanka player and manager. Avishka Gunawardana, the highly successful A team coach, joined national team for the second test against Australia at Canberra and is likely to be retained for the South Africa tour as well.