New look Sri Lanka recall Bhanuka and Rajapakse | Sunday Observer

New look Sri Lanka recall Bhanuka and Rajapakse

18 July, 2021
Sri Lanka squad members come together for a meeting with skipper Dasun Shanaka at a practice session
Sri Lanka squad members come together for a meeting with skipper Dasun Shanaka at a practice session

Middle order batsmen Bhanuka Rajapakse and Minod Bhanuka have returned to the Sri Lanka squad and are expected to play in today’s first of three ODIs against India that has a star cast of hardcore players who have successfully featured in the professional Indian Premier League (IPL).

The two Bhanukas featured prominently when they represented a makeshift Sri Lanka team on a tour of Pakistan in 2018 that produced successful results under the guidance of captain Dasun Shanaka who is now back in the saddle and ready to lead.

Bhanuka Rajapakse is likely to bat in the middle order while Minod Bhanuka is likely to keep wickets in the absence of sacked captain Kusal Perera who is said to be down with an injury that many followers of the team doubt.

In a statement Sri Lanka Cricket said Perera has been sidelined because of what they called a “shoulder injury” and would be back for the three T20s which follow the three ODIs.

Shanaka will have Dhananjaya de Silva as his deputy who is also nursing an injury and both will have to play frontline roles with the bat as will opener Avishka Fernando be called upon to do. Since making a century in the World Cup in 2019, Fernando has done very little with the bat nowhere near his talent and capability.

Also called into a 25-member squad is Isuru Udara Igalagamage who made a name for himself when he amassed over 1000 runs in the 2019/20 domestic season for Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) that included a top score of 290.

He was overlooked for some unexplained reason and it could be a blessing that current unsavoury developments in the Sri Lanka team have compelled the selectors to take note of his talents by at least making him part of the squad

“The situation is challenging for us but we are looking forward to it. We have some youngsters coming through and I am pretty sure they will come up with some good performances and we are playing in a home (ODI) series after more than two years,” said Shanaka.

The ODI series will be followed by a three-match T20 series starting on July 25 at the same venue.

Sri Lanka squad:

Dasun Shanaka (captain), Dhananjaya de Silva (vice captain),Kusal Perera, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapakse, Pathum Nissanka, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga de Silva, Ashen Bandara, Minod Bhanuka, Lahiru Udara Igalagamage, Ramesh Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Binura Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Lakshan Sandakan, Akila Dhananjaya, Shiran Fernando, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Ishan Jayaratne, Praveen Jayawickrema, Asitha Fernando, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana