Sri Lanka news April 11, 2011

Sri Lanka selectors to look for new blood

ESPNcricinfo staff

With Sri Lankan cricket undergoing a complete change at their helm, new head of selectors Duleep Mendis said there will be new blood in the team as well. Kumar Sangakkara, when quitting the captaincy, said it was because Sri Lanka needed to build a new team for the 2015 World Cup, and Mendis echoed those sentiments, saying the team needed to rebuild.

"Rebuilding is going to be the key in the coming months," Mendis said. "Some things may not work, some tactics may pay off." Mendis will head a panel that features four past cricketers: Brendon Kuruppu, Don Arunasiri, Ranjith Madurasinghe and Chaminda Mendis.

Muttiah Muralitharan, who had led Sri Lanka's bowling for more than a decade, is retired from all forms of the game, while some of their other key players are past thirty: Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene are both 33, while Tillakaratne Dilshan is 34. In addition, Lasith Malinga, though just 27, has had an injury-laden career and said he will not be around for the next World Cup.

Mendis said the 2015 World Cup was something Sri Lanka had to build towards from now, and that required looking for players from junior squads.

"Right now, the A team is the most important feeder mechanism for the main team. Our job in the months ahead is to scout for talent to replace some of the older players as we face several tours in the coming months.

"Our cricket calendar is full in the coming months, but our task is also to build a pool to face the 2015 World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand."

Sri Lanka will tour England in May, and Australia later in the year. They are also hosts for the World Twenty20 in 2012. Ahead of the England tour, the selectors will have to name a captain and vice-captain. Sangakkara has offered to captain the Test side in England, in order to give the selectors more time to choose a new one, but Mendis said nothing had been decided yet.

"We need at least a week to make the announcement," Mendis said. "I was very surprised with Kumar's resignaton. Very surprised he wanted to quit captaining the one-day side too."