Former captain Angelo Mathews was included in Sri Lanka’s T20 International squad of 16 for the first time in 18 months for the three-match T20I series in India commencing January 5 at Guwahati.
A series of injuries and battles with fitness saw the one-time all-rounder being left out of the shortest format of the game. However of late Mathews has recovered from his injuries and started to bowl which is one of the reasons why he has been included in the squad. He last played in a T20I in August 2018 and had to withdraw from the squad in New Zealand in December the same year due to a hamstring injury.
Mathews bowling his quota of four overs is a boon to the composition of the team that can then play an additional batsman.
However it is very unlikely the veteran cricketer of 72 T20Is, second only to Lasith Malinga’s 79 appearances will figure in the first two T20Is against India as Sri Lanka don’t want to disturb the top six in the order – Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando and Dasun Shanaka.
Named along with Mathews are also wicket-keeper/batsman Niroshan Dickwella and top order bat Kusal Mendis – both of whom are also unlikely to figure in the final eleven at the start of the series…
No official announcement from Sri Lanka Cricket yet.
Delay is because squad is still waiting for the new sports minister Dullas to approve?
This is the team I would try first and pull in Avishka and or Kusal depending on form.
Dhanushka, Dick, Bhanuka, KJP, Mathews, Oshada, Dana, Hasaranga, Udana, Malinga, Rajitha/Kumara – has 7 total bowlers and bats down to 9. Top 4 need to get us 60 runs in the first 6.