Atapattu dropped for Abu Dhabi series
Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain, has been left out of the 15-man squad for the one-day series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi. Only nine of the 15 players who travelled to the World Cup have been selected for the three-match series starting May 18. Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas had earlier been released from selection for the series so they could play county cricket in England.
Asantha de Mel, Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors, said that Atapattu, who did not play a single game in the World Cup, had been dropped so that younger players could be given an opportunity to perform. "Marvan will be considered in the future, but for this series we thought of going with a couple of young guys," de Mel told AFP.
Among the uncapped players named in the squad is Malinda Warnapura, a left-hand batsman, who turned out a great performance for Sri Lanka A against Bangladesh A in March-April this year. Warnapura's unbeaten 104, as opener in the second ODI clinched the series for Sri Lanka A. He also made 242 in Sri Lanka A's 283-run victory in the first of the two four-day games that preceded the ODIs. Warnapura's team-mate in that A squad, Ishara Amerasinghe, a right-arm fast-medium bowler, has also been named in the touring party. He took four wickets at an average of 30 in the three ODIs against Bangladesh A.
"Malinda deserves the break," said de Mel. "He's done exceptionally well with the A team and was an automatic choice. Ishara bowls at a good pace and he's got the talent and we want to see how he goes." de Mel said Amerasinghe's action was similar to Lasith Malinga's, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, who has an unusual side-arm action.
Prasanna Jayawardene will keep wickets in the absence of Sangakkara. Middle-order batsman Chamara Kapugedara and legspinner Kaushal Lokuarachchi are also part of the squad.
Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt) Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Farveez Maharoof, Dilhara Fernando, Malinga Bandara, Lasith Malinga, Malinda Warnapura, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Ruchira Perera, Ishara Amerasinghe, Kaushal Lokuarachchi, Chamara Kapugedara.