Pakistan in Sri Lanka 2012 June 12, 2012

Herath rested for ODI series; Weerakoon picked

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Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has been rested for the remaining three ODIs against Pakistan following a knee operation after the home series against England in March. The national selectors have picked the uncapped left-arm spinner Sajeewa Weerakoon as his replacement.

Herath played the first two ODIs in Pallekele, but keeping in mind his expected heavy workload in the Tests as the lead spinner, the team management has decided to let him recuperate till the Test series which begins in Galle on June 22.

"We had decided that he would play only two to three games in this series because it's always tough to return after an operation," Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said on the eve of the third ODI in Colombo. "He felt it sore in the first two games. If you noticed while fielding he was struggling a bit."

Weerakoon, 34, has been on the fringes of national selection for a few years. He was the third-highest wicket-taker in the first-class 2011-12 Tier A competition with 42 wickets for Colts Cricket Club. In 2005, the consistency Weerakoon showed for the A team pushed the selectors to include him in the senior squad for three Tests against India in place of Herath, but he didn't break into the playing XI.

"I'm really happy and thrilled about this call," Weerakoon said. "I got this call after seven years, and seven years means a long time. I made lots of sacrifices during that period.

"I think I have done enough to convince them that I deserve a place in the Sri Lanka team. I was told about this decision just a couple of days ago by the team manager (Charith Senanayake)."

Weerakoon said that it was his performances in the Premier tournament that earned him a call-up. "I think that's why I'm here today. I was really determined to make my way into the national side. I never gave up. All I wanted was to represent Sri Lanka, at least in one game. I think that's why I'm here today."

Weerakoon said that in those seven years he got valuable advice from spin bowling coach Piyal Wijetunge, a former Sri Lanka left-arm spinner. If picked, Weerakoon will become the second oldest Sri Lanka to make an ODI debut, after Michael Tissera, who played his first ODI in 1975 at the age of 36.

Jayawardene said Weerakoon's experience in the domestic circuit - he has 693 first-class wickets - should serve him well. "Personally I feel he is a deserving candidate and hopefully he will get his opportunity tomorrow," Jayawardene said. "He has been in the shadows of Murali, Malinga Bandara, Herath and Ajantha Mendis for quite some time. He is a fighter. He has a lot of experience in club cricket and the A team."

With inputs from Kanishkaa Balachandran

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • RMad on June 13, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    It was a privilege to play with this guy. I started my U13 when this guy was playing for our college 1st XI team. In those days these guys are like gods for us. A fantastic bowler with a good height. So sad that he haven't got an early call, coz he was very good in domestic circuit. I wish you all the best Weerakoon ayya. I know you will do your best.

  • on June 13, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    We Aloysians heard Sajeewa Weerakoon's name from way back 15 years... Its sad that this call was not earlier. I wish the Proud Aloysian will make the best out of the opportunity and prove why he deserved it...All the best Sajeewa.I am proud to be an Aloysian with you...

  • on June 13, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    guys this is a tactical move they replaced left arm spinner with a left arm spinner coz pak top batmen are right handers.good move

  • on June 12, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Best wishes for sajeewa weerakoon !so finally he broke the barrier call an unfortunate player who perform exceptionally well in domestic matches,past 10 years.obviously this call would been a "consolation national represent "to sajeewa of his noble service for Sri lanka cricket.

  • RDJROCK on June 12, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Mendis is still injured guys according to mahela he wil definitely will be back, and for me sanjeewa is old to bring on bettr giv a youngster ago than drafing him in

  • johnathonjosephs on June 12, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Just glanced at this guy's stats. Its amazing that a guy with this kind of record has never been in the international side. But I guess thats what happens when Murali is on the team.

  • on June 12, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Please drop younis khan i beg you ! Asad shafiq is a brilliant talent !

  • SL_kamal on June 12, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    I think SL should give another chance to Ajantha Mandis. Is he still injured? You can not call him a fading star just by comparing him with Murali. Should play him more often in the international stage for him to rectify his problems. Hiding him is not the answer like they did in the WC final.

  • on June 12, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Pak shud play Sami instead of Rahat if he is fully fit n if not then Aizaz Chema.Asad SHafiq shud b in for Younas.Cheers!!!

  • beeran on June 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    @ryann basheer:most peculiar comment ever seen.get well soon dude!!!

  • RMad on June 13, 2012, 6:52 GMT

    It was a privilege to play with this guy. I started my U13 when this guy was playing for our college 1st XI team. In those days these guys are like gods for us. A fantastic bowler with a good height. So sad that he haven't got an early call, coz he was very good in domestic circuit. I wish you all the best Weerakoon ayya. I know you will do your best.

  • on June 13, 2012, 2:16 GMT

    We Aloysians heard Sajeewa Weerakoon's name from way back 15 years... Its sad that this call was not earlier. I wish the Proud Aloysian will make the best out of the opportunity and prove why he deserved it...All the best Sajeewa.I am proud to be an Aloysian with you...

  • on June 13, 2012, 1:13 GMT

    guys this is a tactical move they replaced left arm spinner with a left arm spinner coz pak top batmen are right handers.good move

  • on June 12, 2012, 19:52 GMT

    Best wishes for sajeewa weerakoon !so finally he broke the barrier call an unfortunate player who perform exceptionally well in domestic matches,past 10 years.obviously this call would been a "consolation national represent "to sajeewa of his noble service for Sri lanka cricket.

  • RDJROCK on June 12, 2012, 17:12 GMT

    Mendis is still injured guys according to mahela he wil definitely will be back, and for me sanjeewa is old to bring on bettr giv a youngster ago than drafing him in

  • johnathonjosephs on June 12, 2012, 17:03 GMT

    Just glanced at this guy's stats. Its amazing that a guy with this kind of record has never been in the international side. But I guess thats what happens when Murali is on the team.

  • on June 12, 2012, 15:55 GMT

    Please drop younis khan i beg you ! Asad shafiq is a brilliant talent !

  • SL_kamal on June 12, 2012, 15:31 GMT

    I think SL should give another chance to Ajantha Mandis. Is he still injured? You can not call him a fading star just by comparing him with Murali. Should play him more often in the international stage for him to rectify his problems. Hiding him is not the answer like they did in the WC final.

  • on June 12, 2012, 15:19 GMT

    Pak shud play Sami instead of Rahat if he is fully fit n if not then Aizaz Chema.Asad SHafiq shud b in for Younas.Cheers!!!

  • beeran on June 12, 2012, 14:41 GMT

    @ryann basheer:most peculiar comment ever seen.get well soon dude!!!

  • on June 12, 2012, 14:40 GMT

    I'm happy that Weerakoon has finally made it into the national team but he's not in the greatest of form at the moment. He should of been the number one spinner when Murali retired but sometimes life doesnt go your way. He's a world class bowler and I'm sure he will do well during this tournament.

  • axe_hay on June 12, 2012, 14:26 GMT

    Sajeewa Weerakoon should have been given a chance long back...unfortunately his career coincided when Murali was at his peak and SL never required another spinner in their squad. However at 34, Weerakoon does not have a long future.There are so many spinners SL have tried after Murali retired - Ajantha Mendis, S.Prasanna, Jeevan Mendis, Lokuarrachi,Herath,Suraj Randiv,Senanayake etc but none have succeeded at the International level ( Except for Ajanta for a short period, and herath is not a regular in Limited overs cricket). There has to be a youngster who has to be groomed for the future. SL cannot get another Murali but can get someone who is consistant at the International level. Sachithra Senanayake, Seekuge Prasanna, Sohan Boralessa, Rohan Jayatissa, Sachithra Serasinghe,Malinda Pushpakumara are the next generation of spinners SL cricket should put their money on !

  • on June 12, 2012, 14:04 GMT

    Totally astonished by the selection panel, I don't understand what are the actually looking for? Would they like to retain their legacy of spin bowling by assessing an array of spin bowlers.. Mendis, Randiv, Senanayke, Prassana, D. Perera, Lokorachni, J.Mendis & now this new addition. Out of words!!

  • on June 12, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    I agree if Jeevan Mendis in for chandimal and sachithra for herath

  • Revzy on June 12, 2012, 13:42 GMT

    They should bring in Sohan Boralessa...who is much younger and is a future prospect both in ODI's and TESTS!!!!

  • siri12345 on June 12, 2012, 13:38 GMT

    herath or no herath srilanka will win all the remaining matches easily.pakistan will know that their victory over srilanka in dubai was a fluke as captain of srilanka was dilshan

  • Sinhaya on June 12, 2012, 13:00 GMT

    Why wont they give Roshan Jayatissa of Sri Lanka Army a chance? His bowling average is below 15! What better average can you expect from a bowler?

  • on June 12, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    @ Rajitha Mapa : i totally disagree with your philosophy, Just keep in mind at what age current no.1 Spinner the King Ajmal got first opportunity to play international cricket

  • on June 12, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Pakistani board has made captain to such a person who dun deserve to be in a team. Ruining the career of talented player like asad shafiq. Misbah and yusnus should retire and afridi should lead the team.

  • ButWhatDoIKnow on June 12, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    With the 3-match test series coming up, this is a really good move to rest Herath. Replacement players should be picked on form... It's naive to keep saying "youngsters" should be given more chances, because at present there is already a pretty good blend of youth and experience in the SL ODI side. Randiv, Sachithra Senanayake, Mendis and Prasanna among other spinners and Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dimuth Karunartne among other promising batsmen should keep making most of the opportunities presented and keep pushing for selection!

  • Rehan_Ahmed on June 12, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Agreed!! should have approach a youngster.

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    yes but imran farhat is a world class performer

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    At last Weerakoon got a chance at top level after years of success . But i guess its too late and he is not in his best form at the present.

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Sachithra will be better than sajeewa but sachi not economical...

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Why still Ajantha mendis out , atleast in the absense of Rangana Herath if the chance given to him again he can prove his capability to the selectors and if he performs well like beore that is good for Srilankan cricket

  • on June 12, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    should give a youngsters more chance....dunnoo y they concern about a 34 years left armer....

  • SohailMirza on June 12, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    Why Imran FarhatI lyas or Malik Mirza never got any injury :D Worst players never become unfit i think this should be 4th Law. Azhar Ali is going to be great stylish opener for Pakistan & this is for sure.

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  • SohailMirza on June 12, 2012, 10:40 GMT

    Why Imran FarhatI lyas or Malik Mirza never got any injury :D Worst players never become unfit i think this should be 4th Law. Azhar Ali is going to be great stylish opener for Pakistan & this is for sure.

  • on June 12, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    should give a youngsters more chance....dunnoo y they concern about a 34 years left armer....

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:33 GMT

    Why still Ajantha mendis out , atleast in the absense of Rangana Herath if the chance given to him again he can prove his capability to the selectors and if he performs well like beore that is good for Srilankan cricket

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:45 GMT

    Sachithra will be better than sajeewa but sachi not economical...

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:46 GMT

    At last Weerakoon got a chance at top level after years of success . But i guess its too late and he is not in his best form at the present.

  • on June 12, 2012, 11:59 GMT

    yes but imran farhat is a world class performer

  • Rehan_Ahmed on June 12, 2012, 12:04 GMT

    Agreed!! should have approach a youngster.

  • ButWhatDoIKnow on June 12, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    With the 3-match test series coming up, this is a really good move to rest Herath. Replacement players should be picked on form... It's naive to keep saying "youngsters" should be given more chances, because at present there is already a pretty good blend of youth and experience in the SL ODI side. Randiv, Sachithra Senanayake, Mendis and Prasanna among other spinners and Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Dimuth Karunartne among other promising batsmen should keep making most of the opportunities presented and keep pushing for selection!

  • on June 12, 2012, 12:29 GMT

    Pakistani board has made captain to such a person who dun deserve to be in a team. Ruining the career of talented player like asad shafiq. Misbah and yusnus should retire and afridi should lead the team.

  • on June 12, 2012, 12:41 GMT

    @ Rajitha Mapa : i totally disagree with your philosophy, Just keep in mind at what age current no.1 Spinner the King Ajmal got first opportunity to play international cricket