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Lasith Malinga returns for Sri Lanka's Champions Trophy campaign

Lasith Malinga has been given time to prove his fitness for ODIs
Lasith Malinga has been given time to prove his fitness for ODIs
©REUTERS
 

Sri Lanka speedster Lasith Malinga has returned for the 15-man squad for the upcoming Champions Trophy to be played in June and July in England and Wales.

The 33-year-old last played in ODIs for Sri Lanka in November 2015 and had to undergo a year of rehabilitation following the 2016 Asia Cup tournament which was played in the Twenty20 format for the first time.

After a successful return to the T20I series against Australia and Bangladesh where he picked 11 wickets from five matches, Malinga is part of Mumbai Indians' ongoing Indian Premier League campaign.

Sri Lanka Cricket Board president Thilanga Sumathipala revealed that Malinga will be given time until 10th May to regain complete fitness for the 50-over format.

"Malinga has got his medical clearance to bowl 10 overs, since about two weeks ago," Sumathipala said.

"We need to build him up to bowl 10 overs now. He's playing in the IPL, which is to our advantage, because he's in a top-class cricketing environment and he's practising.

"Right now we are getting reports that he's going into eight overs in a spell. We have to make sure he's fit to bowl 10 by about the 10th of May."

Also returning to the squad is Angelo Mathews, who will lead the side after recovering from a hamstring injury that he sustained during the series in South Africa.

Off spinner Dilruwan Perera and opening batsman Danushka Gunathilaka will also remain as a cover in an extended squad.

"I think I've got the best possible team," Mathews told a news conference.

"Plus we are travelling with 17, which gives us a lot more options... if something happens to someone, it's always better to have a couple of players over there," said the 29-year-old.

"It's another opportunity for us to bring a lot of pride back to Sri Lanka. It's an opportunity for us to bring an ICC trophy back home," added Mathews, who was part of Sri Lanka's triumphant 2014 World Twenty20 team.

Sri Lanka squad for Champions Trophy:

Angelo Mathews (captain), Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekera, Thisara Perera, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna

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