June 11, 2002

Sri Lanka make four changes for NatWest one-day series

Sri Lanka's selectors have made four changes to their squad for the NatWest one-day triangular series against England and India starting June 27 at Trent Bridge.

And contrary to media speculation over the weekend, Sri Lanka's star off-spinner, fully fit or not, Muttiah Muralitharan will not be returning home.

The selectors have bolstered the batting, recalling openers Avishka Gunawardene and Naveed Nawaz, and middle order batsman Chamara Silva. Fast bowler Akalanka Ganegama is the only newcomer to the bowling department.

Gunawardene, 25, a buccaneering opener, is recalled after missing out in Sharjah, whilst Nawaz is a surprise choice having not been in the frame for some time, despite scoring consistently in domestic cricket for Nondescripts Cricket Club.

Silva, 22, has been in and out of the squad for the past three years without ever being given an extended opportunity to cement a place, whilst Ganegama, an accurate and earnest medium pacer, impressed in his only two ODIs in 2001 before being quietly jettisoned.

The new-look selection panel, headed by chairman Guy de Alwis, who had claimed experience was the key to winning the 2003 World Cup just two weeks ago, resisted the temptation to retain veteran Aravinda de Silva, despite his recent good form in England, and Hashan Tillakaratne.

De Silva and Tillakaratne will return home with off-spinning all-rounder Thilan Samaraweera and fast bowlers Ruchira Perera and Eric Upashantha.

Selectors also decided not to recall wicketkeeper Romesh Kaluwitharana and fast bowler Pramodya Wickramasinghe, both of whom had been ushered into the Sri Lanka A team shortly after De Alwis took charge of selection.

The surprise omission is middle-order batsman Tillakaratne Dilshan, who had only just worked his way back into the one-day squad after a year on the sidelines.

The final composition of the squad is subject to ratification by the Sports Ministry.

Full Squad:

Sanath Jayasuriya, Marvan Atapattu, Muttiah Muralitharan, Russel Arnold, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Prassana Jayawardene, Nuwan Zoysa, Upul Chandana, Dilhara Fernando, Buddika Fernando, Chaminda Vaas, Chamara Silva, Avishka Gunawardene, Naveed Nawaz, Akalanka Ganegama.