Spinner Akila Dananjaya has returned to Sri Lanka’s squad for the five ODIs in South Africa. However, it is understood that his availability is to subject to clearance of his bowling action from the ICC. He was officially banned from bowling in international cricket in December, after an independent biomechanic assessment found his flex beyond the permitted 15 degrees.
Dinesh Chandimal, who had been dropped for Test series in a shock move, was left out of the ODI squad too. Also ignored were batsman Danushka Gunathilaka and allrounders Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka and Sekkuge Prasanna – who were all part of the squad in Sri Lanka’s previous ODI series in New Zealand. Instead, Angelo Perera, who last played an ODI in 2016, and Oshada Fernando, who is uncapped in ODIs, were included in the side.
Dananjaya is likely to lead a revamped spin attack that includes Kamindu Mendis, the ambidextrous spinner, and Lakshan Sandakan, the wristspinner. Mendis, who is also uncapped in ODI cricket, bowls offbreaks as well as slow left-arm orthodox – the latter being his stronger suit.
Batting allrounder Priyamal Perera, who struck back-to-back double-hundreds in the Premier League four-day tournament, has also earned his maiden call-up to the Sri Lanka squad.
Squad: Lasith Malinga (captain), Avishka Fernando, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella (vice-captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Thisara Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lakshan Sandakan
IN: Avishka Fernando, Upul Tharanga, Akila Dananjaya, Angelo Perera, Oshada Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Isuru Udana, Vishwa Fernando
OUT: Danushka Gunathilaka, Dinesh Chandimal, Asela Gunaratne, Dasun Shanaka, Sekkuge Prasanna, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiuru Kumara
More to follow…