South Africa v Sri Lanka, World Cup 2015, 1st quarter-final, Sydney March 17, 2015

Uncapped offspinner Tharindu Kaushal replaces Herath, could play SA

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The only international game Tharindu Kaushal has played is the 2014 Boxing Day Test in Christchurch © AFP

In a late move Sri Lanka have replaced injured left-arm spinner Rangana Herath with uncapped 22-year old offspinner Tharindu Kaushal in their squad ahead of the quarter-final against South Africa on Wednesday. The ICC approval for the replacement came about two hours before the toss in Sydney, but even before that team manager Michael de Zoysa said Kaushal "could and should be in contention" for the match.

Sri Lanka had given Herath as much time as possible to recover from the cut he sustained to his spinning finger against England on March 1. However, he was not able to bowl more than two overs in the nets on Tuesday, and is expected to be unfit for another week. Though Herath cannot be reinstated in the squad if Kaushal replaces him, he will stay with the team while he recovers in case a vacancy arises through injury to another player.

"He could come back in if someone else gets injured," de Zoysa said. "You never know, these things keep happening to our team."

Herath's exit from the squad is a significant blow to an attack that has relied on his control during the middle overs. However, Kaushal has been training with the squad in Australia for more than a week, effectively as cover for Herath. Though he is a relative unknown at international level, Kaushal has carved out an exceptional domestic record in his three seasons at senior level. In 29 List A matches, he has 49 wickets at 18.34. He has also been in impressive form in the past few weeks, claiming 47 wickets at 18.82 in the Premier League tournament - Sri Lanka's first-class competition.

On Tuesday, the eve of the match, Angelo Mathews had said Kaushal's inclusion for the quarter-final was "an option" for Sri Lanka, but they also have legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna and offspinner Sachithra Senanayake in the squad. However, it would appear strange that Sri Lanka would enter a third specialist spinner into the squad unless he has a chance of playing, given batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage is also traveling with the squad, and could have been drafted in for Herath.

Herath is the fifth Sri Lanka player to sustain an injury and be replaced from the original squad. Seamer Dhammika Prasad, batsmen Dimuth Karunaratne and Dinesh Chandimal, and legspinning allrounder Jeevan Mendis had all been forced out through injury during the campaign. Herath played four matches in the tournament.

0120 GMT The story was updated to reflect the ICC's approval of Tharindu Kaushal as Rangana Herath's replacement

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 8:56 GMT

    Experimenting with uncapped bowlers in a Quarter final match is ridiculous. Opening with Kusal is another foolish decision, sending Lahiru later. Thanks for the selectors and managers who ruined our pride to date.

  • J Ranjith on March 18, 2015, 8:09 GMT

    biggus, Indian players overstepping the spirit of cricket more than any players? really? that too coming from an Australian. now that's funny.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 6:55 GMT

    Well done South Africa... You guys always had the potential and you deserve this. Congrats on your imminent first knock out win

  • Weeramuni on March 18, 2015, 6:51 GMT

    Sri Lanka useless fear to South African , best bowling at king world , I'm really proud of South Africa , I'm Sri Lanka fan

  • raja on March 18, 2015, 4:57 GMT

    Brilliant logic similar to Chandimal, the captain himself dropped to accomodate an inform player in T20 worldcup. I assume, whoever is not playing good should be marked injured and can be replaced by an inform player, or whom they think :-) :-) Srilankans prove they have cricketing brain or atleast better tacticians. If bowling negative line and sledging allowed means, this also should be allowed.

  • Richard on March 18, 2015, 3:24 GMT

    @Gokul Subramanian:- You were moaning about SL legitimately replacing injured players, and then you dropped this particularly cheap shot, "I don't understand why SL always seem to be tottering the line of right vs wrong." Of course people will want to take you to task for what is basically a pointless moan followed by unsubstantiated prejudice, so don't act like butter wouldn't melt in your mouth, and while we're at it, Indian players seem to be overstepping the bounds of 'right vs wrong' more often than the players of ANY other country these days, going by the fines and sanctions levied on what is deemed inappropriate behaviour in international matches. There's little value in a post of uninformed prejudice, so don't be expecting to be complimented about it. Oh, and I'm not Sri Lankan either

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 3:11 GMT

    @criclover13456 BMac was smoking every bowler that day. I was actually impressed with the young spinner. He kept tossing it up even as BMac continued to hit him, and he was eventually rewarded with his wicket.

  • Dan on March 18, 2015, 3:07 GMT

    @gokul....yes mate.if Srilanka was a big country like india with massive population or a country like AUS where rich resources available with modern technology,we could have found batsman to batsman,spinner to spinner(it's not that we don't have batsmans or bowlers in first class cricket.it's the quality and the standard that matters to play at international level)we have only around 30 contracted players with cricket board.if you take the whole first class system,we will be able to get 50 players suitable or close to play at international level.as u say,if spiner to spinner batsman for batsman replacement is not possible in SL case.if replacement comes as u mentioned we will have to send under17 or 19 player for the WC.imagine a associate team face this type of issue,it will be even worse.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2015, 3:00 GMT

    Guys, be realistic.. This is a world cup knock out match! You don't want a new bowler to be inserted to this big picture out of no where.. Remember what happened when Suraj Randiv played 2011 WC final?

  • abhijeet on March 18, 2015, 2:56 GMT

    Can't understand why people are so exited about this spinner.....I remember that b Mac smoked him to all parts of the ground on his test debut......he was charging down and attacking him......so where is the mystery...??...and why will be the teams sweating.....in his inclusion..

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