Vithanage, Priyanjan get T20 call-ups
Sri Lanka have included batsmen Kithuruwan Vithanage and Ashan Priyanjan in their 15-man squad for the one-off T20 that kicks off their tour of England in May. Slow-bowling allrounder Chaturanga de Silva, who was initially included in the World T20 squad as cover for Rangana Herath, has also been named. Herath has been rested, while the team will be without the veteran pair of Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, who retired from T20 internationals after the World T20.
The team will be led by Lasith Malinga, who took over as captain at the World T20 after Dinesh Chandimal had to sit out due to an over-rate offence and was then dropped on form. Lahiru Thirimanne, who was appointed vice-captain across formats earlier on Wednesday, will deputise.
Though uncapped in T20 internationals, Priyanjan and Vithanage have been included ahead of Angelo Perera, who played for Sri Lanka in February, against Bangladesh. Both aggressive middle-order batsmen, Priyanjan and Vithanage have had encouraging starts to their international careers in other formats. Priyanjan averages 33.33 after seven ODI knocks and Vithanage has scored at 69.66 in four Test innings - all against Bangladesh. Priyanjan also bowls part-time offspin.
Sri Lanka's selectors have officially relieved Dinesh Chandimal of the T20 captaincy and ODI vice-captaincy but did not omit him from either squad.
Five seniors - Jayawardene, Sangakkara, Herath, Malinga and Tillakaratne Dilshan - have all also been rested for the Ireland leg of Sri Lanka's tour, which features two ODIs in Dublin. Opener Upul Tharanga, 20-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, and fast bowler Dhammika Prasad are in that squad, after encouraging performances for Sri Lanka's A team and in domestic cricket. Sri Lanka play Ireland on May 6 and May 8 before going to England.
The selectors are expected to name the ODI and Test squads for the England tour over the next few days.
England T20 Squad: Lasith Malinga (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Kusal Perera, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Seekkuge Prasanna, Ajantha Mendis
Ireland ODIs Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-capt), Kusal Perera, Upul Tharanga, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Kithuruwan Vithanage, Ashan Priyanjan, Thisara Perera, Nuwan Kulasekara, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachithra Senanayake, Suranga Lakmal, Dhammika Prasad, Ajantha Mendis