Colombo : Hampered by injuries, fitness failures and Covid-19 pandemic, Sri Lanka will face Zimbabwe with several uncapped players in the first one-day International of their three-match series on Sunday (January 16).Sri Lanka Cricket’s (SLC) Selection Committee on Thursday announced the squad for the three ODIs to be played on January 16, 18, and 21 at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium.Sri Lanka will miss ace spinner Wanindu Hasaranga due to a hamstring tear, which he sustained during the Lanka Premier League (LPL), while batter Kusal Janith Perera too will be absent due to an injury.Three players star-batman Avishka Fernando, Janith Liyanage, and Kamil Mishara have been ruled out from the series after being infected with Covid-19, while pacer Lahiru Kumara and Kalana Perera were removed from the squad as they had failed to fulfill the newly upgraded ‘fitness standards’.
Dhananjaya De Silva, named vice-captain of the initial team, is on paternity leave and will miss the three ODIS.In place of these established players, the selectors have called in former captain Dinesh Chandimal, Nuwan Pradeep, Shiran Fernando, Kamindu Mendis, and Kusal Mendis, who was recently freed from a one-year ban imposed over the breach of bio-bubble protocols in England last July.The squad includes Dasun Shanaka (captain), PathumNissanka, Minod Bhanuka, Dinesh Chandimal, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Nuwan Thushara, Ramesh Mendis, Praveen Jayawickrama, Dushmantha Chameera, Chamika Gunasekera, Nuwan Pradeep, Shiran Fernando, and Kamindu Mendis. In addition, six other players Ashen Bandara, PulinaTharanga, Nimesh Vimukthi, Ashian Daniel, Asitha Fernando, and Vishwa Fernando have been kept as standby. The SLC said the squad was released subjected to the approval of Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa.
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