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March 12, 2008
Sanath Jayasuriya and Muttiah Muralitharan have been left out of Sri Lanka's 15-man squad for the upcoming ODI series in the West Indies.
The 37-year-old Jayasuriya retired from Tests last December, and wished to concentrate on his ODI career. However, he hasn't had a great run since the World Cup, with only 305 runs in 20 innings, and there was speculation that he would be dropped from the side, especially after his poor performance in the CB Series, where Sri Lanka finished third behind India and Australia.
Murali, the leading Test wicket-taker, also didn't have a great time in Australia, but it is believed that he will be feature only in key ODI tournaments from now on. Murali will play in the two Tests preceding the ODI series in which he will be replaced by offspinner Ajantha Mendis, who with 54 wickets, is the leading wicket-taker in the Premier League Tournament, Sri Lanka's domestic first-class competition. Mahela Udawatte, the 23-year-old hard-hitting opener, replaces Jayasuriya. Udawatte has been touted as a successor to Jayasuriya.
"He [Jayasuriya] did not perform well in Australia," Ashantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chief selector, told AFP. "We have three years to groom a team for the 2011 World Cup and younger players must be given a chance."
Sri Lanka will also be without Lasith Malinga, out with a knee injury, for both the Tests and ODIs in West Indies. Allrounder Kaushalya Weeraratne makes a comeback to the Sri Lankan side. His last ODI was in 2003. Uncapped left-arm fast bowler Thilan Thushara, who was picked for the Tests, also finds a place in the ODI squad.
Chaminda Vaas, Nuwan Kulasekara and Ishara Amerasinghe are the other fast bowlers in the squad, while Malinga Bandara is the other spinner alongside Mendis. Besides Weeraratne, Chamara Kapugedera and Tillakaratne Dilshan are the other all-round options available to captain Mahela Jayawardene.
Sri Lanka ODI squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vaas, Chamara Silva, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Kapugedera, Malinga Bandara, Kaushalya Weeraratne, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ajantha Mendis, Jehan Mubarak, Ishara Amerasinghe, Mahela Udawatte, Thilan Thushara.
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