Tharindu Kaushal in Sri Lanka's Test squad
Tharindu Kaushal, a 19-year old offspinner, has been named in Sri Lanka's squad for the two Tests against New Zealand, while Chanaka Welegedara also returns to the side
Tharindu Kaushal, a 19-year old offspinner, has been named in Sri Lanka's squad for the Tests against New Zealand, while left-arm seamer Chanaka Welegedara returns to the side after missing two Tests against Pakistan due to a shoulder injury.
Kaushal is in Sri Lanka's squad for the ongoing ODIs but is yet to play. He has not played any first-class or List A cricket either but was part of the Under-19 squad for the World cup in Australia. "Kaushal has a lot of potential and we have included him in the squad to allow him to get a feel of being in the presence of senior players and for him to train with them," Sri Lanka's chairman of selectors, Ashantha de Mel, told ESPNcricinfo. "We will see how the other offspinner Suraj Randiv bowls in the first Test and then decide whether we should take a gamble with Kaushal."
Fast bowlers Dhammika Prasad and Shaminda Eranga were also picked in the 15-man squad, displacing Thisara Perera and Nuwan Pradeep. Perera had taken four wickets and made 75 in the only match he played in against Pakistan.
Eranga had been overlooked for the Pakistan series after coming back from a nerve-related back injury earlier in the year, but had found places in Sri Lanka's World Twenty20 and limited-overs squads for the New Zealand series. He played one Test against Australia last year and took five wickets in that match. Dilhara Fernando had replaced Welegadara in the Pakistan series, but was left out.
Swing bowler Nuwan Kulasekara retained his Test spot after a successful series against Pakistan, in which he was Sri Lanka's best fast bowler, with eight wickets at 36.37. The top order was also unchanged, as Tharanga Paranavitana kept Lahiru Thirimanne out of the Test opener's spot.
Sri Lanka also named an unchanged squad for the fourth and fifth ODIs against New Zealand in Hambantota. They lead the series 2-0. "We were hoping to change the squad after the first three ODIs if Sri Lanka had taken a winning lead, but due to the bad weather we had to retain the same squad of 15 players for the remaining two one-dayers," de Mel said. "Winning the series is important, that's why we named the same squad for the remaining two ODIs, but if we win tomorrow we will give an opportunity to the players who have not got a game in the series so far in Monday's match."
De Mel also said that opener Tillakaratne Dilshan, who is suffering from a strained back, would miss the final two ODIs to give himself time to recover for the Test series. Mahela Jayawardene is likely to open in Dilshan's absence, with Dinesh Chandimal batting in the middle order. Chamara Kapugedera has been called in to the squad to replace Dilshan.
The first Test begins in Galle on November 17.
Test squad: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews (vc), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Tharanga Paranavitana, Kumar Sangakkara, Thilan Samaraweera, Prasanna Jayawardene (wk), Tharindu Kaushal, Suraj Randiv, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dinesh Chandimal, Chanaka Welagedara, Shaminda Eranga, Dhammika Prasad.
Squad for remaining ODIs: Mahela Jayawardene (capt), Angelo Mathews (vc), Chamara Kapugedera, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Nuwan Kulasekara, Lasith Malinga, Shaminda Eranga, Upul Tharanga, Rangana Herath, Akila Dananjaya, Tharindu Kaushal.
With inputs from Sa'adi Thawfeeq.
Andrew Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's correspondent in Sri Lanka