Dimuth Karunaratne Appointed as Sri Lanka captain for World Cup As Malinga threatens to retire

Written by N Krishnamurthy

Dimuth Karunaratne last played an ODI in 2015, but is rated a fitting player for any format and more importantly enjoys the support of all the players in the dressing room.

Test Opener Dimuth Karunaratne has been appointed as the captain for the World Cup after premier batsman Angelo Mathews, on Wednesday, declined the offer by the selectors, Cricket Age reliably learns.

Karunaratne, who has not played ODI cricket since the last Cricket World Cup in 2015, scored 165 at an average of 55 in the concluded Super Fours limited over tournament.

With two opening slots up for grabs after potential openers, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka flopped in the domestic tourney,–possibly ending their hopes of making it into the 15-man squad–Karunaratne has thrown his hat into the ring following a decent outing with the bat.

Karunaratne was never in the frame for the World Cup but his exceptional leadership during Sri Lanka’s historic triumph in South Africa and the ODI team’s disastrous performance under Lasith Malinga forced selectors to look at him closely.

Though former captain Angelo Mathews, highest scorer of the local tournament, was the first choice captain as Sri Lanka look to turn around its fortunes, the former skipper refused to take on any responsibility while Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha remains in that position.

Mathews was publicly ridiculed by Hathurusingha after Sri Lanka made a first round exit from the Asia Cup last year and assigned the whole blame for the debacle.

After Dimuth appointment, the future of Lasith Malinga hangs by thread. Even though he tried his best during his captaincy, he could not uplift the performance of the team, with not a single win under his belt. Cricket Age learns that today morning, Malinga sent a cryptic message to selected people’s at SLC, by indicating that he might retire if wouldn’t be appointed as the captain.

“Malinga is not a bad leader,” Chief Selector Asantha de Mel had said few weeks ago. “I have no issue with his knowledge of the game and how he goes about things in the middle but he doesn’t seem to have the support of the coach and the players. Right now, what we need is someone who can get these players together. Otherwise, it would be disastrous for us.”

Sri Lanka will leave on May 7 to England for a one week camp before heading to Scotland to play two ODIs. Sri Lanka’s opening World Cup match is against New Zealand on June 1, 2019.

Sri Lanka’s World Cup fixtures

1 June: Vs New Zealand at Cardiff
4 June: Vs Afghanistan at Cardiff
7 June: Vs Pakistan at Bristol
11 June: Vs Bangladesh at Bristol
15 June: Vs Australia at The Oval
21 June: Vs England at Leeds
28 June: Vs South Africa at Chester-Le-Street
1 July: Vs West Indies at Chester-Le-Street
6 July – India – Leeds

About the author

N Krishnamurthy