Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga has yet again been dropped for the Tri-nation series against Bangladesh and India despite displaying an impressive performance in the recent domestic cricket matches. The Sri Lankan selectors have named a 20-man preliminary pool ahead of the Nidahas Trophy but the pacer's name was missing from the sheet.
Malinga has been playing for the Nondescripts Cricket Club in Sri Lanka's domestic T20 competition where he has picked up 10 wickets in three matches he has played.
Chairman of Selectors Graham Labrooy told Cricbuzz that it wasn't the end of the road for Malinga. "He is certainly in our plans for 2019 World Cup, but we want him to play more games. We want him to play the current T20 competition and then the one-day tournament after that," said Labrooy, where he will function as a Match Referee for the ICC World Cup qualifiers.
The 34-year old has struggled with his form and fitness since his return and has been unable to prove his worth in the team.
Test captain Dinesh Chandimal will lead the side after leading the nation to win he Tri-series competition, the Test series a two-match T20s. Chandimal replaced Angelo Mathews as captain after the latter returned home early after picking up a hamstring injury.
Mathews was expected to return to the squad for the Nidahas Trophy but picked up a fresh calf injury while going through an intensive rehabilitation process.
22-year old Sadeera Samawickrama who has been in brilliant form has been picked by the selectors after smashing two-half centuries in three games in the domestic T20 cricket.
Fast bowler Lahiru Kumara was also named in the squad along with Kusal Janith Perera, Nuwan Pradeep and Dushmantha Chameera, players who picked up injuries during the Bangladesh series.
The Tri-nation series between Sri Lanka, India and Bangladesh will get underway from March 6 in Colombo with the first match featuring hosts Sri Lanka vs India.
Sri Lanka's Preliminary T20 squad:
Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Janith Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeewan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera and Dananjaya De Silva