In dearth of a leader, Sri Lanka pin hopes on 'only choice' Tharanga

In dearth of a leader, Sri Lanka pin hopes on 'only choice' Tharanga

By: || Updated: 16 Aug 2017 05:30 PM

Pallekele: Sri Lanka finds itself in a precarious scenario. With a serious dearth of experienced players, The Sri Lankan Cricket Board (SLC) gave Upul Tharanga charge of its limited overs team after Angelo Mathews’s decision to step down. But Tharanga’s awful form in the Test series and his inexplicable use of the DRS has left the SLC scratching their heads.

Tharanga endured a horrendous Test series against India, scoring only 88 runs in six innings, which Sri Lanka lost by a comprehensive 0-3 margin.

With Mathews reluctant to lead the side, Sri Lanka’s only left with the option of Lasith Malinga, who has made a comeback to the side. But the seasoned campaigner’s fitness is always a concern and hence Sri Lanka would probably have to be content with the out-of-form Thranga at the helm.

But the left hander has called for support from his countrymen ahead of what should prove to be another tough outing against the higher-ranked India.

"Every team goes through a rough patch," he said.

"This is something that happens in cycles to every team and every nation no matter how great a cricketing nation they are. The support of our fans plays a big role in lifting the morale of the team.

"We play for our country and our goal is to bring pride to our family of 20 million in this nation - so your support is something that matters greatly to us," Tharanga added.

There are two other changes from the Sri Lankan squad which featured in the last three ODIs against Zimbabwe.

Pacer Nuwan Pradeep and all-rounder Asela Gunaratne are out due to injuries and their places in the side has been taken by young fast bowler Lahiru Kumara and left-arm spinner Malinda Pushpakumara, who both featured in the recent Test series against the Indians.

Sri Lanka last played India in an ODI series in November 2014-15 (in India) and were blanked 0-5.

The Islanders, however, upset India in their group game at the Oval in the recent Champions Trophy.

Sri Lanka ODI Squad: Upul Tharanga (Capt), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando.

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