Gunaratne and Kanchana earn recalls in Sri Lanka's T20 World Cup squad
Sathya Sandeepani also returns as the team heads into the tournament without a head coach
Vishmi Gunaratne, fresh from captaining Sri Lanka in the Women's Under-19 T20 World Cup, will now link up with the senior side, as Sri Lanka announced their 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup. Gunaratne's inclusion is one of three changes to the squad that emerged runners-up in the Women's Asia Cup last October, with veteran seamer Ama Kanchana and allrounder Sathya Sandeepani also earning recalls.
Twenty-three-year-old Sandeepani was drafted in as an injury replacement for Hasini Perera, who misses out due to a finger injury sustained during practice. Kanchana, 31, who had been dropped for the Asia Cup, returns to add some experience to the camp. She replaces the young wristspinner Rashmi Silva, as Sri Lanka have opted to go with an extra seam option in the squad.
Gunaratne, the highly-rated 17-year-old allrounder, is back fit and firing after recovering from the back stress fracture that had kept her out of the Asia Cup. Making way for her is allrounder Madushika Mettananda.
Chamari Athapaththu will lead a batting group that includes Gunaratne, Harshitha Samarawickrama - who was the second-highest run-scorer at the Asia Cup - Nilakshi de Silva, Kavisha Dilhari, Malsha Shehani, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Anushka Sanjeewani and Kaushini Nuthyangana. One of the latter two will keep wickets.
Kanchana and Tharika Sewwandi make up the seam contingent, and the likes of Achini Kulasuriya, Shehani and de Silva are capable part-time operators. Inoka Ranaweera, the joint top wicket-taker at the Asia Cup, will lead Sri Lanka's pack of spinners, which also includes Sugandika Kumari, Athapaththu, Dilhari and Ranasinghe.
Sri Lanka's tournament preparations haven't been the smoothest, however, with head coach Hashan Tillakaratne resigning following the Asia Cup - he has since taken up the role of head coach with Bangladesh Women. Sri Lanka remain without a head coach - the players have been training under Rumesh Ratnayake, who is part of SLC's high-performance set-up.
The team hasn't played any international cricket either since that Asia Cup final defeat to India.
Sri Lanka will begin their World Cup campaign with warm-up matches on February 6 and 8 against Ireland and West Indies, before their first match of the tournament on February 10 against South Africa.