Injured Malinga, Mathews unlikely for India T20s
Sri Lanka are likely to send a depleted squad to India next month to play the scheduled T20 series, given a number of injuries to key players. Among them are fast bowler and T20 captain Lasith Malinga, allrounder Angelo Mathews, spinner Rangana Herath and fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep.
Malinga is still recovering from a knee injury that kept him out of the tour to New Zealand. It is learnt that he will require another fortnight to regain full fitness. Test and ODI captain Mathews is nursing a groin strain that largely prevented him from bowling in New Zealand. His injury is less severe than Malinga's, though, and Sri Lanka Cricket are hoping he will be available for the Asia Cup at the end of the month. Malinga's recovery time has already been delayed, after it was initially hoped he would be able to play some part during the limited-overs series in New Zealand.
Pradeep and Herath picked up injuries during the Premier T20 Tournament, a domestic competition, while playing for their respective clubs. Pradeep is being treated for a hamstring injury and Herath for a pulled side muscle.
Sri Lanka Cricket sources revealed that all four are unlikely to figure in the squad for India, and their places are likely to be filled by young players who have performed well in the recently concluded Premier T20. Dinesh Chandimal, who led Sri Lanka in the two T20 internationals in New Zealand, will most probably continue as captain.
A provisional squad of 30 will be picked before February 1 for the World T20, which will be held in India in March. The performances of players in the ongoing Super T20 Provincial Tournament will be taken into consideration when picking the team for the World T20. It is learnt that the squad that is picked for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh - a T20 tournament in its new version - will virtually be the same one as that which will defend Sri Lanka's World T20 title.