Leg spinning allrounder Jeewan Mendis who had been performing well in the recent past has got selector’s nod ahead of seasoned spinners Rangana Herat and Ajantha Mendis for the Australian ODI tour this month.
Mendis a product of S. Thomas’ College initially turned out for the Sinhalese Sports Club for six seasons, but his move to the Tamil Union two years ago proved a major change in his career as his true talent blossomed out from there.
Mendis will pair off with the off spinning duo of veteran Muttiah Muralitharan and Suraj Randiv who will be making his maiden tour Down Under at national level.
The only injury issue that the Lankan authorities are undergoing at the moment is the knee injury of talented young allrounder Angelo Mathew, but according SLC sources he should be fit by the 17th when the team makes their departure. If Mathews cannot make the tour, left hand middle order batsman Thilina Kandamby would join the squad.
In batting, the selectors have opted to go without the services of the dependable veteran Thilan Samaraweera giving more weight to the talents of Chamara Kapugedera and Chamara Silva who are yet to perambulate in the Promised Land.
They also have opened the doors for the talented young top order batsman Dinesh Chandimal.
The only weak link in the tour party looks to be the fast bowling department with Lasith Malinda having to pair off with either Nuwan Kulasekera, Dilhara Fernando or Dhammika Prasad. Besides these bowlers, skipper Kumar Sangakkara also has the services of two seamers in the squad in Angelo Mathews and Thisara Perera.
The Sri Lankans will open their tour on Friday October 22 with an ODI game against Queensland at the Brisbane Cricket Ground, Woolloongabba and then move to Sydney to take on the New South Wales Xl on October 24 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Lankans will play their second game against New South Wales at the Blacktown Olympic Park Oval, Sydney on Wednesday October 27.
Sri Lanka will play their single T-20 game against Australia at the Western Australia Cricket Association Ground, Perth on October 31.
On Wednesday November 3 the first ODI against Australia will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and then the visitors will move to Sydney to play the second ODI on November 5.
The Lankans will play their last ODI at the Gabba, Brisbane on Sunday November 7.
The tour Squad:
Kumar Sangakkara (Captain), Mahela Jayawardana (V. Captain), T.M. Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Chamara Silva, Jeewan Mendis, Angelo Mathews, (subject to fitness, if not to be replaced by Thilina Kandamby), Chamara Kapugedara, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Dilhara Fernando, Muttiah Muralitharan, Suraj Randiv, Dhammika Prasad and Dinesh Chandimal.
Standby: Rangana Hearth, Ajantha Mendis, Thilina Kandamby, Thilina Thushara and Farveez. Maharoof.