Jayasuriya confirms Malinga will miss Zimbabwe tour
Sanath Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka Cricket's chief selector, has confirmed that fast bowler Lasith Malinga will miss the tour of Zimbabwe, which begins in the first week of October. Malinga had requested permission from SLC to skip the tour, stating that he wanted to be with his wife and family, as they expect their second child late in September. He has already made himself unavailable for the Champions League T20 tournament.
"The selection committee has accepted Malinga's request and we have given him permission to forego the tour," Jayasuriya said on Thursday.
Jayasuriya also elaborated on the selection policy for the Zimbabwe tour, saying the selectors would focus on a balanced side, especially for the Test series, because the conditions required the presence of seniors in the side.
"We are thinking of bringing in youngsters whenever we can but the Test series is very important for us. We need the senior players in the team also," Jayasuriya said. "We need to have a serious discussion on how we are going to approach the Test series especially. Just because it is Zimbabwe, we should not get carried away and select a very young side. The conditions are different in Zimbabwe and we will require the services of the senior players, especially for the Test series."
Jayasuriya also said that Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara have indicated to the selectors that they will be available for selection until the 2015 World Cup.
"Our policy is to give as much exposure to youngsters but, in this regard, we must also be careful as to how we go about it," Jayasuriya said. "In Tests and ODIs, we cannot experiment too much with youngsters, we need the three seniors around. As you may have noticed, it is the seniors who have won us matches in these two formats over the last couple of years.
"We had a tough series against South Africa and, in the ODIs, we had the three senior cricketers and at least six youngsters. For the T20 series, we tried bringing in youngsters because we thought that is one format they can adjust to very quickly."
Jayasuriya also stressed that the team would face a few losses, while experimenting with youngsters in the playing XI. On the exclusion of allrounder Jeevan Mendis and opener Upul Tharanga from the 27-member squad named for the Zimbabwe tour, Jayasuriya said that Mendis. had been given enough opportunities and the selectors had decided to back another player. He shared a similar opinion about Tharanga
"Upul has not performed to our expectations," said Jayasuriya. "He scored a big hundred in one game but after that he never showed the consistency that we expected from him.
"We have retained Kusal Perera because he is young and he has talent. He has shown what a destructive batsman he can be on his day."
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play two Tests, three ODIs and two T20s on their tour of Zimbabwe.