Former Sri Lankan captain Dimuth Karunaratne has been given a chance to make his mark in the 50-over format as he earns a recall to the national squad for the upcoming ODI series against Afghanistan. Karunaratne, who led Sri Lanka in the previous ODI World Cup in 2019, last played an ODI more than two years ago, with his most recent appearance being in March 2021.
The inclusion of Karunaratne suggests that Sri Lanka might have him in mind for the upcoming World Cup. Additionally, fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who has been sidelined due to injury and hasn’t represented Sri Lanka in 2023, also makes a comeback after being named in the 16-man squad.
Meanwhile, 29-year-old uncapped player Dushan Hemantha has been rewarded for his impressive performances in List A cricket and finds a place in the squad as the only new face. Notable exclusions from the squad that played in New Zealand earlier this year include Nuwanidu Fernando, Sahan Arachchige, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan, and Dilshan Madushanka.
The winning duo from the Indian Premier League (IPL), Maheesh Theekshana and Matheesha Pathirana, will make an immediate transition to international cricket. Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has confirmed that Kusal Perera was not considered for selection due to a hamstring injury he sustained in New Zealand. Wanindu Hasaranga, who is undergoing rehabilitation for a foot injury, will participate in the series only if he fully recovers.
The three-match series against Afghanistan will kick off on June 2nd in Hambantota, providing an opportunity for the recalled players and the newcomers to make an impact. The Sri Lankan squad, led by captain Dasun Shanaka, includes Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (WK), Angelo Mathews, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya De Silva, Sadeera Samarawickrama (WK), Chamika Karunaratne, Dushan Hemantha, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Dushmantha Chameera, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, and Maheesh Theekshana.