Pot-luck selectors play safe
Ad-hoc team named for first two ODIs against Windies
By S.R. Pathiravithana

Sidelined veterans Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas have been included in the World Cup final thirty which the Sri Lanka Cricket has to forward to the ICC by the 10th of this month, the Sunday Times learns.

The Lankan top order batsmen which include skipper Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena have been cushioned with the return of Thilan Samaraweera. (Pic Sanka Vidanagama)

Vaas, the 36-year-old left arm seam bowler who had a brilliant stint with Worcestershire during the English summer this year, was a strong contender for a comeback with the slacking fast-bowling arsenal in the local stores.

Vaas who has 400 international one-day wickets to his credit played his last ODI against India at the R. Premadasa Stadium on August 8, 2008 and has been overlooked since. Vaas was a member of the 1996 World Cup winning Sri Lankan squad.

He played his first ODI also against India in Rajkot way back in February 1994. The other veteran, Sanath Jayasuriya, is a champion of 444 ODIs and has scored 13,428 runs in 432 innings and was named the Most Valuable Player at the 1996 World Cup which Sri Lanka won.

Jayasuriya made his ODI debut against Australia in Melbourne on December 26, 1989 and played his last ODI against India in New Delhi on December 27 2009. A left arm orthodox spinner, Jayasuriya in his 444 appearances bagged 322 wickets with his best being 6/29 against England. In his last stages with the national team he was used more as a stock left arm spinner and a lower middle order batsman.

The Sunday Times exclusively revealed that both Vaas and Jayasuriya were back at training with the Lankan squad in September 2010. From the very inception both cricketers made it very clear of their intentions of being a part of the 2011 World Cup squad.

Meanwhile, the selectors have named a probe-in-the-dark squad of sixteen for the first two one-day Internationals against the West Indies to christen the Sooriyawewa Stadium on Thursday and Saturday.
Still trying to get their final combinations ready for the World Cup 2011, the selectors have left out their champion match winner Muttiah Muralitharan, thus depriving the legend some much-needed match practice.

The top heavy Lankan batting line up has been cushioned with the inclusion of dependable Thilan Samaraweera, but the unproven talents of Chamara Kapugedera and Chamara Silva have been persisted with while futuristic Dinesh Chandimal has been sidelined again. However the inclusion of Samaraweera should take a lot of pressure off the shoulders of Dilshan, skipper Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardena, a batsman who has been going through a lean patch lately.

Once again, the lower middle order has been beefed up by Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera. One also wonders how leg-spinning batsman Jeewan Mendis could fit into the final XI in these two games with the top seven reading Tharanga, Dilshan, Sangakkara, Mahela, Thilan, Angelo and Thisara Perera who has more than proved his worth with some telling contributions in the recent past.
Jeewan also may not be opted only as a bowler as the selectors have put their faith on Ajantha Mendis, Rangana Herat and Suraj Randiv.

The three seamers in the side are Nuwan Kulasekera, Lasith Malinga and Dilhara Fernando. Nevertheless the selectors have left a door open for themselves by naming the squad only for the first two games.

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