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News

Dinesh Chandimal makes a comeback in Sri Lanka's Asia Cup squad

Fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera has been selected but ankle injury is a concern

Ashen Bandara last played for Sri Lanka in July 2021  •  AFP/Getty Images

Ashen Bandara last played for Sri Lanka in July 2021  •  AFP/Getty Images

Left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka has been named in a Sri Lanka men's T20 squad for the first time, while Dinesh Chandimal, seamer Asitha Fernando and middle-order batter Ashen Bandara make their return to the squad for the Asia Cup. Also making comebacks are allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva and legspinner Jeffrey Vandersay who was not part of the squad that played Australia in June. Round-arm seamer Matheesha Pathirana has been picked as well.
Chandimal was part of the T20 squad that toured Australia and India earlier this year, but was then dropped for the T20Is at home against Australia in June. He returns for the Asia Cup largely on the back on strong performances in Test cricket against Australia and Pakistan.
Left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan, fast bowler Nuwan Thushara, and allrounders Ramesh Mendis and Lahiru Madushanka were left out of the squad.
Seamers Binura Fernando and Kasun Rajitha, who were strongly considered for the squad, were ruled out by injury. But even among those who have made the squad, there is one major injury concern: key fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera's ankle is understood to not have completely recovered from a recent injury. He will likely be given as much time as possible to regain match fitness at some point in the tournament.
The names of Asitha Fernando and Pramod Madushan have been sent to the Sports Minister of Sri Lanka for approval as replacements for Binura Fernando and Kasun Rajitha.
The injuries mean there will be additional pressure on what is an inexperienced seam bowling unit. Aside from the uncapped (in T20Is) Fernando, the 21-year-old Madushanka and the uncapped 19-year-old Pathirana, Sri Lanka have only allrounders Chamika Karunaratne, and Dasun Shanaka as seam options. Fernando, however, did top the wicket charts with 10 dismissals while maintaining an economy rate of 6.87 in the recent SLC Invitational (domestic T20) tournament.
The spin department appears more settled, with Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana and Praveen Jayawickrama being joined by Vandersay. While Vandersay did not play in the T20Is against Australia in June, he had been in decent bowling form in the ODIs, and claimed 3 for 12 in a recent domestic match.
Bandara, meanwhile, gets back into the squad on the back of good performances in that domestic tournament. Batting at No.5, he hit 134 runs across four innings, albeit at a strike rate of 117.54. He last played for Sri Lanka in July 2021.
On the batting front, there is no room again for Niroshan Dickwella, who had a decent run in the domestic tournament, and Kusal Mendis (who topped run charts), Danushka Gunathilaka, and Pathum Nissanka will vie for the top-order spots. Bhanuka Rajapaksa is likely to appear in the middle order.

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