Left-arm-spinner Rangana Herath has been omitted from Sri Lanka's 14-man squad for the Asia Cup, which begins on March 11 in Dhaka. Fast bowlers Dhammika Prasad and Chanaka Welegedara, who were part of the Sri Lanka squad for the Commonwealth Bank tri-series in Australia, are also not in the squad.
While the selectors did not originally offer any explanation for why the players had been left out, Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said, after the first final of the Commonwealth Bank series, that a decision had been taken to rest the three bowlers for Sri Lanka's Test series against England, which starts four days after the Asia Cup final.**
"Everybody knows that after the Asia Cup, we travel, we get to Colombo, and the next day we get to Galle to play the No. 1 Test team in the world in a Test match," Jayawardene said. "I only have four Test bowlers left so I needed to rest them obviously. We made a decision that Rangana is definitely rested, and obviously Chanaka Welegedara and Dhammika Prasad, the other two Test bowlers, are going to take a two-week break and get ready for the Test matches because I doubt they can play a Test match straight after travelling from Bangladesh."
Legspinner* Seekkuge Prasanna takes Herath's place while fast bowler Suranga Lakmal comes back from a long injury lay-off. The three allrounders who picked up injuries during the tri-series - Farveez Maharoof, Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera - have been included in the squad.
Herath played in most of Sri Lanka's ODIs since being recalled for the tour of South Africa. He has been economical in his 10 one-dayers this year, conceding only 4.35 an over, but he hasn't made too many breakthroughs - only five at 68.00.
Lakmal is returning to international cricket following an ankle injury. He last played for Sri Lanka during the one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE last November. He made a return to competitive cricket in the ongoing first-class domestic competition, the Premier League Tier A tournament, where he claimed eight wickets in four matches. Prasanna was dropped following the same one-day series - which Sri Lanka lost 4-1 - after he had claimed only four wickets in five matches at an average of over 50. He has since show impressive form in the Premier League Tier A, claiming 41 wickets in four matches for Sri Lanka Army, with five five-wicket hauls in eight innings.
Mahela Jayawardene and Mathews have been retained as captain and vice-captain respectively. Sri Lanka play their first match of the tournament on March 13 against India.
*9:38 GMT, March 3: The article had referred to Seekkuge Prasanna as an offspinner. This has been corrected.
**14:34GMT, March 4: This paragraph, and the following one, have been added after Mahela Jayawardene's press conference in Brisbane on March 4. The article originally said Rangana Herath had been dropped from the team
Edited by Nikita Bastian