The 16-person Sri Lankan team has been named for the first two One Day Internationals (ODIs) of the three-match series against Afghanistan on Tuesday, May 30. Matheesha Pathirana, an IPL phenomenon, has been included in the squad and might play his first ODI in the series beginning on June 2. The 20-year-old got his ODI debut after a stellar performance in IPL 2023, and he made his T20I debut for the country in August 2022 against the same opponent.
Because of his similar slingy, round-arm motion to the renowned Sri Lankan seamer Lasith Malinga, Pathirana has earned the moniker “Baby Malinga.” Along with him, Dushmantha Chameera will make his series debut after an extended absence due to injury.
Karunaratne makes comeback
Dimuth Karunaratne, the test captain, has been recalled to the squad to add experience to the batting order. He last played an ODI in 2021. owing to Kusal Perera’s absence owing to a hamstring injury, Sadeera Samarawickrama will also make his ODI debut after a four-year absence.
The series will be captained by Dasun Shanaka and will get underway on June 2 at Hambantota’s Mahinda Rajapaksa International Stadium (MRICS). On June 4 and 6, respectively, the second and third ODIs will be played.
For the island nation, the series will act as a warm-up for the World Cup Qualifier, which will start on June 18 in Zimbabwe. Although Sri Lanka has not yet announced their team for the qualifier, they will be paying close attention to how the players perform in the Afghanistan series in order to put up a strong core for the main event.
The Dasun Shanaka-led team will open their campaign on June 19 against the United Arab Emirates. They are grouped with Ireland, Scotland, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates. Out of the ten nations competing in the qualifiers, two will advance to the ODI World Cup 2023, which will begin in India in October.
Sri Lanka Squad
Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha