Bangladesh in Sri Lanka 2012-13 February 14, 2013

Sri Lanka selectors turn focus on development

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Sri Lanka's new selection panel has put the onus firmly on development, as they named two young captains and a Test squad brimful of youth, three months after Sri Lanka fielded their oldest ever Test side in the second home Test against New Zealand. The 20-man squad for the two-Test series against Bangladesh features nine players who are 25 or under - five of whom have never played a Test - and only seven over the age of 30.

The youngest player in the squad is 19-year-old offspinner Tharindu Kaushal, who has only played two first-class matches in his debut domestic season, but has reaped 19 wickets at 8.89, including three five-wicket hauls. Already gaining renown as a big turner of the ball, Kaushal also had an impressive List A season, in which he collected 22 wickets at 18.63. He had been part of Sri Lanka's squad for the home Tests against New Zealand in November, but did not play a match.

Opening batsman Ashen Silva, 22, has been among the most secure young batsmen in the domestic setup since making his first-class debut in 2011, and will be the reserve opener, after Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dimuth Karunaratne. Silva has had a quiet start to the first-class season, after a disappointing end to the List A competition, but had been earmarked for Test duty even 12 months ago, when he played in the tour match against the visiting England side. He made 66 and 0 in that match.

Kithuruwan Vithanage, 21, is a middle-order batsman who has been picked largely on current form, having made 122, 21 not out and 85, in his three first-class innings so far this season. Legspinning allrounder Jeevan Mendis has also been picked on the back of a strong first-class performance, after he made an unbeaten 206 over the weekend. Mendis has become a limited-overs regular for Sri Lanka in the last six months, but had not earned a place in a Test squad before this occasion.

Kushal Perera, 22, who had an impressive first foray into international cricket during the limited-overs leg of the Australia tour, has also been named, and will be the reserve wicketkeeper after Dinesh Chandimal. Dushmantha Chameera, 21, is the only fast bowler under 25 in the squad. He has been marked out for his promising pace, but is yet to make an impact in any format at domestic level.

The selection panel, headed by Sanath Jayasuriya, had expressed a desire to use a sparse 2013 schedule to develop the next generation of cricketers for Sri Lanka. Apart from the series against Bangladesh, Sri Lanka only have a Test series against Zimbabwe in October, before their next major assignment, which will be an away tour against Pakistan beginning in December.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • dummy4fb on February 16, 2013, 12:16 GMT

    This is an extremely productive and beneficial move by the selection panel with the view of looking into the future of Sri Lanka Cricket. Its a shame that Bhanuka wasn't picked for the Development Emerging Team but he hasn't had the best season this year compared to previous seasons. I'm a bit surprised to not see Umesh Karunaratne or Angelo Jayasinghe in that development squad but nonetheless still a quality development team. In regards to this team, it would be interesting to see how Chameera goes but I would of personally chosen Lahiru Madushanka in the squad since I believe he is going to be a real superstar similar to Angelo Mathews/Thissara Perera.

  • spas on February 15, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    Bringing Kushal Perera in shows the intent of the new selectors, supporting aggressive SL cricket brand, which Was there when Sanath Jayasuriya was around (not towards the end of his career though). Dropping Para and bringing Ashen is also a good move, so as selecting Kithruwan (Chakka) as well as Jeevan Mendis, where the latter's case is almos a decade late, but it was mostly due to failure of Jeevan mendis to find himself in the longer formats after promising run as a schoolboy.

    I feel it is bit early to handing the t20 captaincy over to Dinesh Chandimal, who still strugglles for his place in the team sometimes. Hope the selectors would handle Kaushal, Chameera and Akila very carefully to get the best of them in the coming years.

    I would say that I am really exited about the new squad although I am not a big fan of testing new players against teams like Bangladesh. Debutants should get tougher opponents like Sunil Gavaskar did.

  • Indfan76 on February 15, 2013, 6:16 GMT

    When the Indian selectors take the positive move , we have talents like unmukt chand, umesh yadav, varun aron, rasool, Irfan, Manesh Pandey , Uttappa etc.... Selectors can rotate the players so that bench strength for the next world cup would be idle. We need strong a bowling coach in the form of Akram, Donald, Macgrath.

  • caromball on February 15, 2013, 5:07 GMT

    My Test Team is 1.T.M.Dilshan 2.Dimuth Karunaratna 3.Dinesh Chandimal 4.Kumar Sangakkara 5.Mahela Jayawardena 6.Angelo Mathews 7.Prasanna Jayawardena 8.Shaminda Eranga 9.Rangana Herath 10.Chanaka Welagedara/Dammika Prasad 11.Ajantha Mendis/Nuwan Pradeep. I think we need to have another left arm paceman paceman(some one like Thilan Thushara) for the test squad.Angelo Perera must be included to be more fare selection.

  • dummy4fb on February 15, 2013, 3:04 GMT

    where is angelo perera? what sri lanka thinking this is not acceptable

  • PadMarley on February 15, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    Ok, for the benefit of everyone.... could someone give an objective note on who Angelo Perera is and why he should be such an obvious pick? This would help Sri Lanka fans around the world, who are not quite thorough on the domestic scene. Cheers!

  • dummy4fb on February 15, 2013, 1:09 GMT

    jeewan is never going to play tests for SL..he is an average test batsman and can do nothing with the ball.ANgelo Perera has a weekness in facing fast bowlers..may be thats why..but selections are great

  • dummy4fb on February 15, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    Every one who were concern about the Angelo Perera, please beware what happening around before you comment. Angelo has included in to the Emerging team to play the practice match against Bangladesh. So it's up to him to perform and get his opportunity cement.