Mathews earns maiden call-up for Zimbabwe tour
Allrounder Angelo Mathews is the new face in Sri Lanka's 15-member squad named for the tour of Zimbabwe in November. Mathews' call-up comes on the back of impressive performances for the Sri Lanka A side on their tour of South Africa in August-September this year. Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas will miss the tour, while middle-order batsmen Tillakaratne Dilshan, vice-captain for the T20 Canada, and Chamara Silva have been dropped.
A former Sri Lanka Under-19 captain, Mathews scored 123 runs at 34.60 and picked up three wickets in the three-Test series against South Africa A, which Sri Lanka lost 0-1. He then went on to top the batting averages in the ODI series but played just the first two matches, picking up an injury. Following the tour, Sri Lanka A team coach Chandrika Hathurusingha said Mathews was "among the possibilities to represent the senior side".
Opener Upul Tharanga and fast bowler Dammika Prasad have also been picked for the tour. The two, along with Mathews, are currently playing with the A team in India. Tharanga benefited from the outstanding showing on the tour of South Africa with the Sri Lanka A side, scoring 250 runs in four one-day games at 83.33. He is expected to take Sanath Jayasuriya's place at the top and will partner Mahela Udawatte. Prasad also got the selector's nod after impressing against India in the third Test in Colombo.
The Zimbabwe tour also marks the return of Muttiah Muralitharan and Kumar Sangakkara after missing the T20 Canada. While Muralitharan was rested, Sangakkara underwent surgery on his finger, right after the home series against India.
Among those missing the tour will be Jayasuriya, who has been given permission by Sri Lanka Cricket to play in South Africa's domestic tournament for the Dolphins with whom he has signed a two-year contract, while Chaminda Vaas has opted out. Also missing out from the T20 Canada squad will be Dilhara Lokuhettige, Jeevantha Kulatunga and Kaushalya Weeraratne.
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play five ODIs against Zimbabwe and two practice games, besides a four-dayer and a one-dayer against representative sides.
Squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Upul Tharanga, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Kapugedera, Jehan Mubarak, Thilina Kandamby, Angelo Mathews, Farveez Maharoof, Thilan Thushara, Dammika Prasad, Dilhara Fernando, Nuwan Kulasekera, Muthiah Muralitharan, Ajantha Mendis.