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August 7, 2006
Avishka Gunawardene and Saman Jayantha, the two openers who have been on the fringes of the national side, have been named along with Marvan Atapattu in Sri Lanka's initial 30-man squad for the ICC Champions Trophy in India in October.
Upul Tharanga has filled the opener's slot impressively with an average of 69 in Sri Lanka's 5-0 victory in the NatWest series in England, where Sanath Jayasuriya also did well. On the other hand, Gunawardene, 29, played the last of his 61 ODIs against New Zealand in January this year and Jayantha, 32, who has represented his country in 17 ODIs, last played in December 2004.
Atapattu, who underwent surgery for a recurring back injury, was picked two days ago in a 20-member squad for the one-day tri-series against India and South Africa.
Selection committee sources said that a squad of 30 was picked with a view to the 2007 World Cup and as cover-up for any loss of key players through injury during the eight-month period from now.
"We will pick the final 14 for the Champions Trophy soon after the one-day tri-series against South Africa and India," a member of the selection committee told Cricinfo.
The series starts in Colombo on August 14 with the final scheduled for August 29. All 20 players named for the tri-series figure in the 30-member squad.
Sri Lanka plays a preliminary round of three matches against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and West Indies to qualify for a place in the knock-out stages of the Champions Trophy.
Squad: Marvan Atapattu, Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Avishka Gunawardene, Saman Jayantha, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Russell Arnold, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Jeevan Mendis, Farveez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Ruchira Perera, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Zoysa, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Dhammika Prasad, Akalanka Ganegama, Dilhara Lokuhettige, Muttiah Muralitharan, Rangana Herath, Malinga Bandara, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Sajeewa Weerakoon, Upul Chandana, Kaushal Silva (wk).