Sri Lanka announce Test squad for 2011 tour to England
By Staff Writers
Selectors include Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Pradeep and Thisara Perera, who are yet to make their Test debuts, while Lasith Malinga writes in from India, claiming that he is unfit to play Test cricket but fit enough for the rigours of the lucrative IPL.
Tillakaratne Dilshan to lead Sri Lanka in England. AFP PHOTO/ Ishara S.KODIKARA.
April 20, 2011 (Island Cricket): Sri Lankan selectors have included four players who are yet to make their Test debut for the upcoming tour to England. Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Nuwan Pradeep and Thisara Perera are yet to play a Test match for Sri Lanka.
Chandima and Thirimanne, both 21, are seen as two of Sri Lanka’s finest upcoming batsmen. And Pradeep, 24, is capable of reaching speeds above 140 KM/H, with a low arm action in the mould of Lasith Malinga.
Perera is a regular feature in Sri Lanka’s limited overs side. His medium pace, coupled with his hard hitting lower down the order, will provide more options for the islanders, who are missing key all-rounder Angelo Mathews due to injury.
Malinga fit for Mumbai not for Sri Lanka
Meanwhile, Duleep Mendis, chairman of the new selection panel, said that Lasith Malinga has requested that he be left out of the Test series.
Speaking to Island Cricket earlier this year, Malinga pointed to his knee as the reason for avoiding the five-day version of the game. According to both Malinga and physio Tommy Simsek, subjecting Malinga to five days of Test Cricket could curtail his career.
“It looks a bit awkward that he says that he is injured and continues to play cricket,” Mendis said of Malinga’s decision to avoid playing Test cricket for Sri Lanka, but feature in 14 Twenty20 matches (Apr 10 – May 22) for his Indian Premier League team, Mumbai Indians.
“When a player says he is injured we want him to undergo a rehabilitation program immediately without playing cricket,” Mendis added.
Similarly, also frustrated by Malinga’s stance, Mendis’ predecessor Aravinda de Silva introduced right-arm speedster Shaminda Eranga, who had only recently taken up professional cricket, to Sri Lanka’s Test squad last November to infuse youth into Sri Lanka's dwindling pace bowling stocks, when Malinga was unavailable for the Test series against West Indies.
“In Malinga's case we have even promoted him to the top category in the player contracts, but he is not fit enough to play Test cricket,” a frustrated de Silva told reporters back in January.
Newly appointed captain Tillakaratne Dilshan will lead a 16-man squad that consists of four fast bowlers and three spinners. But Sri Lanka will miss the retired Muttiah Muralitharan, who has single-handedly helped Sri Lanka dominate over England in English conditions in the past.
Squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (captain), Tharanga Paranavithana, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Thilan Samaraweera, Dinesh Chandimal, Lahiru Thirimanne, Prasanna Jayawardene (wicket-keeper), Thisara Perera, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herath, Dilhara Fernando, Chanaka Welegedara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep.