Dinesh Chandimal has been left out of Sri Lanka's squad for the first two ODIs against Zimbabwe. Uncapped 19-year-old spin allrounder Wanidu Hasaranga was named in the 13-member team, with recalls for spinner Akila Dananjaya and seamer Lahiru Madushanka, along with fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera, who has not played international cricket since December 2016.
Chandimal, Sri Lanka's highest run-getter in ODIs in 2016, with 656 runs at an average of 59.63, has had a lean 2017, scoring 178 runs at 22.25. In the recent Champions Trophy, he scored only 12 runs in two innings.
Sri Lanka's cricket manager and selector Asanka Gurusinha stressed that Chandimal remained a part of the team management's plans and had been left out of the squad in order to try a few youngsters in the matches in Galle. "We only selected the side for the first two games. We haven't selected the side for the rest of the series," Gurusinha said. "We are looking at different combinations and that's one of the reasons why we have selected this team to play in Galle. The conditions in Galle will be a bit different to those in Hambantota. If we are bringing in any youngsters, we wanted to make sure we have some senior players in the team as well.
"We didn't want to bring 4-5 youngsters in the team. And that is the reason - with Danushka opening and batting well and Upul just coming back after suspension and scoring runs we went with that combination, so Upul to play and that's the only reason Dinesh as left out of this squad. But he is in our plans."
Hasaranga's induction, Gurusinha said, was to allow him to gain greater exposure with seniors like Angelo Mathews, Upul Tharanga and Lasith Malinga in the team. In the Under-19 World Cup last year, Hasaranga was among Sri Lanka's highest wicket-takers, with seven dismissals, and also scored 93 runs in five innings at a strike rate of 101.08.
"Wanidu has been playing well. He has been one of the best fielders in Sri Lanka right now, he's batting well, in form and he has that option of legspin bowling."
Dananjaya has played only one ODI in his career so far - in 2012 - apart from five T20l appearances, the last of which came in 2013. Madhushanka, meanwhile, made his international debut on Sri Lanka's tour of South Africa earlier this year, playing three ODIs and taking four wickets.
Chameera makes a comeback after recent struggles with injury. He had not played any international cricket after the Port Elizabeth Test against South Africa in December 2016, his only international appearance since he suffered a stress fracture to his lower back on the England tour earlier in the year.