Sri Lanka have retained out-of-form skipper Dasun Shanaka in their injury-weakened squad for next month’s ICC Cricket World Cup in India despite his poor run of form.
Star all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and fast bowler Dushmantha Chameera were left out of the 15-member squad announced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Tuesday.
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Chameera sustained a pectoral muscle injury during the Lanka Premier League (LPL) last month, while Hasaranga picked up a hamstring injury that kept him out of the Asia Cup where Sri Lanka lost to India in the final.
“Wanindu Hasaranga has not been included in the 15-member squad as the player is still in the process of recovering from an injury,” SLC said in a statement.
“His recovery will be monitored, and if he is declared fit to play, he will be considered as a replacement in the event of an injury to a squad member during the tournament.”
Hasaranga’s absence would be a major blow to the 1996 champions considering the 26-year-old was the leading wicket-taker in the last two T20 World Cups.
Leg-spinning all-rounder Dushan Hemantha will be Hasaranga’s like-for-like replacement in the squad, while Chamika Karunaratne will be the travelling reserve player.
Sri Lanka reveals its squad for the ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2023!
— Sri Lanka Cricket 🇱🇰 (@OfficialSLC) September 26, 2023
The island nation is still recovering from its ignominious 10-wicket home defeat by India at the six-nation Asia Cup final earlier this month, which saw the hosts bowled all-out for just 50 runs.
The thrashing on home soil prompted scathing social media attacks on the board and its players, and demands for Shanaka’s sacking.
“Perhaps it’s time Sri Lanka moved on from Shanaka before the country ends up being an absolute joke in the World Cup,” the Daily Mirror said in a scathing editorial last week.
The board said in a statement last week that selectors and officials “were in agreement that the national team is in the right direction towards making further progress”.
It said they were “optimistic that the upcoming World Cup will bring glory to the nation”.
Sri Lanka won the 1996 title and has reached the final twice since – in 2007 and 2011.
The team will leave for India later on Tuesday and begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa on October 7.
Sri Lanka squad: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Kusal Mendis, Kusal Perera, Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka