Lanka to have running squad of 40 for senior and ‘A’ tours
Bangladesh ‘A’ series crucial to players for selection:
Asela Gunaratne is ‘a good finisher’.
Sri Lanka are looking at naming a 40-member squad from which the senior national teams and the ‘A’ teams will be picked for future series and tours.
In this aspect the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team series against Bangladesh ‘A’ will be of great importance to the players picked to play in the two-match 4-day unofficial test series and three-match unofficial ODI series.
The series begins on September 23 with the first 4-day unofficial test at FTZ grounds, Katunayake.
The Bangladesh ‘A’ team cricketers arrived yesterday.
A 30-member squad has already been selected and it is from this squad the teams for the tour to Pakistan was picked. What the national selection committee headed by Ashantha de Mel will be looking at during the Bangladesh ‘A’ series is to add a further ten players to the already existing squad thus expanding it to 40.
The selectors named a 19-member pool for the two unofficial tests and a 17-member squad for the three unofficial ODIs. Middle order batsman Ashan Priyanjan will lead both teams.
Explaining how Sri Lanka will use the series, De Mel stated that two pairs of fast bowlers and spinners will be picked for the first four-day unofficial test and a separate pair of fast bowlers and spinners will play in the second four-day unofficial test.
“We are giving these players the opportunity to play against international opposition and showcase their talent and potential. We will have a fair idea of which ten players to select to make up the 40-member squad by the end of the series,” said De Mel.
“We are looking at strengthening our spin bowling resources. Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera is 37 years and there is a question mark against off-spinner Akila Dananjaya’s bowling action. We need to have a proper spinner for the Test side,” he said.
The selectors have named two young potential off-spinners in 22-year-old Nishan Peiris and 24-year-old Ramesh Mendis in the Sri Lanka ‘A’ team for the series against Bangladesh ‘A’ and will be closely following their performances.
They have also got 27-year-old left-arm spinner Prabath Jayasuriya in the fray along with seasoned left-armer Malinda Pushpakumara and leg-spinner Jeffrey Vandersay who has been given another opportunity to prove his potential following a poor World Cup.
Also making an appearance is all-rounder Asela Gunaratne who has been named in the ODI squad.
“We are looking at him for the ODI team. He is a good finisher and he’s had a run of injuries that have kept him out of contention,” said De Mel.
Gunaratne excelled in all three formats after making his international debut in 2016, but since fracturing his left thumb in the Test against India at Galle in 2017 has been unable to hold a permanent place in the national team due to recurring injuries.
The second unofficial test will take place from September 30-October 3 at Galle International Stadium and will be followed by the three unofficial ODI matches at Hambantota on October 7 and 9 and at the R Premadasa Stadium on October 12.
SRI LANKA ‘A’ TEST SQUAD: Ashan Priyanjan (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Sangeeth Cooray, Lahiru Udara, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Ashen Bandara, Manoj Sarathchandra, Charith Asalanka, Ramesh Mendis, Nishan Peiris, Malinda Pushpakumara, Prabath Jayasuriya, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Asitha Fernando, Mohammed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay.
SRI LANKA ‘A’ ODI SQUAD: Ashan Priyanjan (captain), Pathum Nissanka, Sandun Weerakkody, Lahiru Udara, Kamindu Mendis, Priyamal Perera, Ashen Bandara, Ramesh Mendis, Amila Aponsu, Jeffrey Vandersay, Vishwa Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne, Asitha Fernando, Ishan Jayaratne, Shiran Fernando, Shammu Ashan, Asela Gunaratne.