Sri Lanka name five uncapped players for T20I series against Pakistan
Five uncapped players feature in the 15-man squad named by the Sri Lankan selectors for the upcoming two Twenty20 Internationals against Pakistan.
Binura Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Shehan Jayasuriya, Dasun Shanaka and Dhananjaya de Silva are the five players in the squad, who will be representing Sri Lanka for the first time.
Dinesh Chandimal and Lahiru Thirimanne are the surprising omissions in the squad while Chamara Kapugedera and Nuwan Kulasekara are back in the team.
Chief Selector Kapila Wijegunawardene explained that the changes and inclusions have been made as a step towards looking to the future.
"We need to get the younger brigade in the stream, so we have a gradual transition leading up to the next World T20 and the 50-over World Cup beyond that," Wijegunawardene said.
"We need to put them on the ground and see how they perform."
It’s been three years since Kapugedera last featured in a Twenty20 International for Sri Lanka and Wijugunawardene feels that the middle-order batsman’s experience will be vital for the young side.
Having played 92 One-Day Internationals and 21 Twenty20 Internationals for Sri Lanka, Kapugedera - according to Wijigunawardene - will be a vital cog of the team’s batting unit in the shortest format of the game.
“With all these youngsters coming into the team we also need to balance the team with experience.
“Kapugedara has not been in the team for a while, but we know he can do that, and we've picked him on that basis.”
Wijegunawardene also denied speculations that the duo of Chandimal and Thirimanne were axed from the T20 squad.
The selector stated that the two players were being rested in view of the upcoming home Test series against India that begins on 12th August.
"Chandimal and Thirimanne needed to prepare for the upcoming India Test series which is a very important one.
“Off-spinner Tharindu Kaushal we are also saving for the Tests.
“We're trying to manage all their workloads because we have a very busy calendar till July next year."
The two T20Is between Sri Lanka and Pakistan will be held on 30th July and 1st August respectively with both the matches to be played at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.
Sri Lanka squad for the T20I series against Pakistan:
Lasith Malinga (captain), TM Dilshan, Kusal Perera, Kithruwan Vithanage, Dhananjaya de Silva, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Chamara Kapugedera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Thisara Perera, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Kulasekara, Binura Fernando, Chaturanga de Silva, Milinda Siriwardene
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