Even though several senior players have refused to travel Pakistan due to security concerns, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) has chosen a relatively strong team for the upcoming ODI series with experienced Lahiru Thirimane is set to captain the side, Cricket Age reliably learns. Apart from Thirimane, other promising internationals – Danushka Gunathilika, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Lakshan Sandakan, Sadeera Samarwikrama and Lahiru Kumara – have also been named in the squad.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan are scheduled to play three ODI matches at Karachi National Stadium on September 27, 29 and October 2.
The decision to appoint Thirimane as ODI captain for the tour was taken after the refusal of senior players including regular captain Dimuth Karunaratne and Angelo Mathews. In addition, players like Dinesh Chandimal, who is anyway out of favour in all three formats currently, has also refused to participate in the three match series.
Apart from seniors, players like Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Janith Perera, Dhananjaya De Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Suranga Lakmal will also stay away from Pakistan Tour.
Thirimane, with 125 ODIs behind him, has been considered as a solid player for the format. He was part of Sri Lanka World Cup campaign and had played some useful knocks down the order.
“Even though few senior players have refused, we have picked a strong team for the ODI leg of Pakistan tour. Thirimane is playing ODI cricket since last one decade and will provide the experience to the side” a senior SLC administrator told Cricket Age.
Danushka Gunathilika, a dashing left-hander, has also been recalled for the series. After being ignored for world cup due to poor form, Gunathilika recently played in third T20I against New Zealand and scored
Oshada Fernando, meanwhile, will get another opportunity to showcase his immense talent. Certainly the find of Sri Lanka Cricket in 2019, Oshada was mysteriously discarded by Politically influenced Chief selector Asantha De Mel forced world cup, even after making a sensational debut against South Africa earlier in the year.
After ODI series, Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three T20I matches on October 5, 7 and 9. Later, Sri Lanka will host Pakistan for two tests in late December.