Ajantha Mendis out of limited-overs squad
Spinner Ajantha Mendis has been left out of the Sri Lanka squad for the Twenty20 and the first three ODIs against New Zealand due to a side strain he sustained early in the World Twenty20. Mahela Jayawardene, who led Sri Lanka to the World Twenty20 final earlier this month, and Lasith Malinga, who has been the team's spearhead in limited overs, have also been rested for the Twenty20 match next Tuesday.
Newly appointed Twenty20 captain Angelo Mathews has medium pace bowler Nuwan Kulasekara as his deputy in the Twenty20, in Malinga's absence. Malinga was named vice-captain of the Twenty20 team for a year when Mathews was elevated to the captaincy for the same period. Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has been omitted from the Twenty20 side and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake comes in.
Three players from the squad that played Sri Lanka's previous ODI assignment, the home one-dayers against India in July-August, miss out: fast bowlers Nuwan Pradeep and Isuru Udana, and batsman Chamara Kapugedera. Akila Dananjaya, the rookie offspinner who claimed five wickets in three games at the World Twenty20, including a spell of 1 for 16 in the final, gets his maiden ODI call-up.
The only newcomer in the one-day squad is 19-year-old offspinner Tharindu Kaushal, who is yet to make his domestic debut in any format. Kaushal was the second-highest wicket-taker for Sri Lanka at the recent U-19 World Cup in Australia, taking 11 wickets at 15.45.
After Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 final loss the selectors had expressed a desire to build a specialised Twenty20 team distinct from the ODI side, with an emphasis on batting firepower. However, 11 of the 13 players in the Twenty20 squad were in the World Twenty20 squad, and the only batting addition - Upul Tharanga - has largely been treated as an ODI specialist in the past.
Sri Lanka play New Zealand in a Twenty20 and ODI in Pallekele, before the teams move to Colombo and Hambantota where they play two ODIs at each venue. The limited-overs leg of the tour will be followed by two Tests.