Sri Lanka name 24-man training pool for NZ
Sri Lanka's preparations for their rescheduled tour of New Zealand have officially started with the announcement of a 24-man training pool, although they will begin without a coach or physical trainer, both of whom are in Australia waiting to hear whether their contracts will be renewed.
The squad includes two new fast bowlers, Channaka Welagedra and Nandika Ranjith, both of who are left-armers. Welagedera, 23, is a recent graduate from the Sri Lanka Cricket Sony Max Academy, while Ranjith, 32, has considerable first-class experience.
Ranjith has been knocking on the selectors' doors for several years and boasts an excellent first-class record: 210 wickets in 54 matches at 25.75. Welagedera won his call-up up performing impressively for the academy during tours to Sharjah and Bangladesh late last year.
The pool will resume training at the end of the week when Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan, Kumar Sangakkara and Chaminda Vaas return to Sri Lanka after representing a FICA World XI in New Zealand.
But John Dyson's future as Sri Lanka's national coach remains in doubt. Dyson's contract expires at the end of March and he has stayed in Australia since the aborted New Zealand series. The cricket board has hinted in the local newspapers that the executive committee will not offer a contract renewal.
The executive committee, according to Duleep Mendis, Sri Lanka Cricket's chief executive, is expected to make a decision on the coach during the coming days. Shane Duff, the team's physical trainer, is also in Australia awaiting to hear whether he will be offered a contract extension.
Sri Lanka are due to leave for New Zealand at the end of March. They will play one three-day warm-up match before the first Test on April 4 and the second Test on April 11. During February the island's top players will play in a four-team provincial tournament, Sri Lanka's premier first-class tournament.
Sri Lanka squad Marvan Atapattu (capt), Sanath Jayasuriya, Saman Jayantha, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Ian Daniel, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thilan Samaraweera, Jehan Mubarak, Russel Arnold, Thilina Kandamby, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Farveez Maharoof, Upul Chandana, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Zoysa, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Nandika Ranjith, Channaka Welagedara.