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November 8, 2004
Sri Lanka's selectors have named a 20-man training pool for the forthcoming tour to New Zealand in December and January. The most notable absentees are Romesh Kaluwitharana and Avishka Gunawardene.
Marvan Atapattu has not been reconfirmed as captain but his impressive leadership during the past year means that he his eventual appointment is assured despite a fractious relationship with Asantha de Mel, the chairman of the selectors.
The identity of the likely vice-captain is less clear. Atapattu's current deputy, Mahela Jayawardene, could be replaced despite a good year, on and off the field, by Chaminda Vaas, who is apparently favoured by some members of the current seven-man selection committee.
Sri Lanka have selected their final touring squads from outside their training pools in the past so Kaluwitharana's fate is not sealed, but with his 35th birthday fast approaching his international career could be over despite a fifty in his last Test match.
Gunawardene's sacking had been on the cards after allegations of drunken misconduct during the ICC Champions Trophy and his poor record away from home. His omission will provide an opportunity for Saman Jayantha to cement a place as Sanath Jayasuriya's partner.
Muttiah Muralitharan has not been named in the training pool having not yet recovered sufficiently from his shoulder surgery, but, assuming his Melbourne-based surgeon, Dr David Young, gives him the go-ahead next week, he will target a return in the latter part of the tour.
Sri Lanka are due to play a five-match ODI series starting December 26 followed by a two-Test series starting on January 19.
Squad Marvan Atapattu (capt), Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Upul Chandana, Nuwan Zoysa, Dilhara Fernando, Rangana Herath, Saman Jayantha, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Lasitha Malinga, Ian Daniel, Farveez, Maharoof, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk).
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