Dilhara Lokuhettige replaces injured Welegedara
Sri Lankan fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara is unlikely to travel to England for the Champions Trophy, after failing to recover sufficiently from an ankle injury he sustained on May 18. Welegedara failed a fitness test on Wednesday morning, and Sri Lanka Cricket have since named seam bowler Dilhara Lokuhettige as a replacement. The selection was cleared by the sports minister, but has not yet been approved by the ICC.
Lokuhettige, 32, played eight ODIs for Sri Lanka in 2005, and two Twenty20 internationals in 2008. He has six ODI wickets at 36.83. He has largely been picked on his form in the recently concluded List A tri-series in Pallekele, where he was the joint highest wicket-taker: nine scalps at an average of 17.66. If approved, he will be one of four pace specialists on tour, with Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga and Nuwan Kulasekara also traveling. Allrounders Thisara Perera and Angelo Mathews are part of the squad as well.
"SLC have written to the ICC Event Technical Committee regarding this replacement," an SLC statement said. "The replacement of a player requires the approval of the Event Technical Committee before the replacement player can be officially added to the squad."
Welegedara had picked up the injury during the penultimate match of the tri-series, which he left, in pain, during his third over. His chances of traveling to England had looked promising on Tuesday after scans revealed no breaks or fractures, but inflammation persisted and he was unable to put sufficient weight on his landing foot.
Welegedara, also 32, was the leader of Sri Lanka's Test pace attack, but has been plagued by injury in the last 12 months, in which he only completed one Test match. He strained his groin playing England in March last year, before tearing a shoulder muscle before the Pakistan series in July. He recovered in time to travel to Australia at the end of the year, but tore a hamstring early in the second Test in Melbourne, and has not played any international cricket since. Largely regarded a Test specialist, Welegedara has not played limited-overs international cricket since June 2010.
The Sri Lanka squad leaves for England in the early hours of Monday morning.