Bhanuka Rajapaksa left out of India T20Is for fitness reasons

The uncapped offspinner Ashian Daniel has been included after strong showings in domestic List A cricket

Bhanuka Rajapaksa has not played for Sri Lanka since his retirement U-turn in January  •  ICC via Getty

Bhanuka Rajapaksa has not played for Sri Lanka since his retirement U-turn in January  •  ICC via Getty

Offspinner Ashian Daniel has ridden his excellent List A form into the Sri Lanka men's T20I squad for India, but there continues to be no room for middle-order batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa, who has again been omitted due to lagging fitness standards.
Daniel is the only new addition to the squad that has just wrapped up a T20I series in Australia, losing 4-1. Three players picked up injuries during that series, however, and will play no part in the India series. Batter Avishka Fernando could be out for several months after sustaining a knee injury that is likely to require surgery; allrounder Ramesh Mendis fractured his thumb while batting in the nets; and round-arm seamer Nuwan Thushara picked up a side strain in the middle of a spell. Kusal Perera, who had not gone to Australia either, continues to be unavailable through injury.
Beyond this, there are no fresh omissions on the basis of form. Danushka Gunathilaka and Dinesh Chandimal, who were both dropped from the XI as the Australia series wore on, retain their places in the squad. Batters Kamil Mishara and Janith Liyanage, who debuted on Sunday, keep their spots as well.
Meanwhile, Wanindu Hasaranga and Binura Fernando, who had both tested positive for Covid-19, will be available for this series, having served their seven days' isolation.
Rajapaksa's exclusion, though, continues to be controversial, particularly in light of Sri Lanka's four losses in Australia. Although Rajapaksa's weight and fitness had long been concerns, his performances in the middle order had largely been good, even if his fielding was sometimes poor. In Australia, it had been Sri Lanka's batters - and the middle order in particular - that had been their major weakness.
In January, Rajapaksa, 30, had retired from international cricket, then reversed his decision after supposedly being convinced to stay by Sri Lanka's sports minister. His continued exclusion, though, suggests Sri Lanka's selectors are intent on enforcing the strict fitness standards introduced over the past two years.
Sri Lanka play three T20Is against India, the first of which is set to take place in Lucknow on Thursday.
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kamil Mishara, Janith Liyanage, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Ashian Daniel

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf