Asela Gunaratne ruled out of T20 tri-series

Friday, 23 February 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

ESPNCricinfo: Sri Lanka batsman Asela Gunaratne’s injury woes continue, having now been ruled out of next month’s T20 tri-series - the Nidahas Trophy - with an injury to his right arm. 

An SLC release said he sustained a “grade II rotator cuff strain with contusion” while taking part in a fielding drill on their recent tour of Bangladesh. Although Sri Lanka won each of the three trophies that had been up for grabs, the 32-year old did not have the best time personally: he made only 35 ODI runs in four innings.

While Gunaratne is the only player to have been ruled out so far, several others are also battling to regain fitness. Most notable among these is captain Angelo Mathews who missed the majority of the Bangladesh tour with another in a long line of hamstring injuries, and is yet to make a full recovery. Also ailing from a hamstring complaint is fast bowler Shehan Madushanka, who sustained the injury during the final match of the Bangladesh tour. Batsman Kusal Perera, meanwhile, had been out with a side strain since mid-January.

More clarity on who will be available for selection should emerge after this weekend, when the first round of a domestic T20 tournament is set to be played. “All players are asked to play club T20 games this weekend,” cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha told ESPNcricinfo. “After that we will look at how the injured guys come up.”

Injuries - particularly muscle strains - have been rife among Sri Lanka’s national players over the past year. In fact, before he got injured again, Kusal Perera had only recently made a return to international cricket after five months due to a hamstring tear. Gunaratne had also missed several months of cricket, though that was due to a fracture. Mathews meanwhile, has been fit for fewer matches than he has been unavailable for, over the past 18 months.

The Nidahas Trophy will be contested by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and will begin on 6 March.


Virat Kohli will be rested for T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka if he asks for break

India skipper Virat Kohli and pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jasprit Bumrah’s workload is expected to be a topic of discussion when the national selection committee headed by MSK Prasad meets this weekend to decide on the Indian squad for the Tri-Nation T20 meet in Sri Lanka next month, from 6-18 March.

Kohli has played all the matches in South Africa so far but his case will be slightly different from others as a decision on resting him will depend on the skipper himself.

“If Virat wants rest, he will get it. In Virat’s case, it’s he who decides on whether he would like to opt out or not. But you never know he might just want to play the T20 series as this is the last tourney of the season.

Once the tournament is over, he will get a fortnight off before the Indian Premier League,” a top BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

Chairman of selectors Prasad however refused to comment on the issue. But it is understood that fast bowling unit’s composition will be a topic of discussion as and when the selection meeting is held.

Bhuvneshwar and Bumrah, who have been India’s star performers across formats, are likely to get a much-needed rest ahead of the long season that starts with the IPL.

Bhuvneshwar has bowled around 100 overs including the Test, ODI and T20I series. The story has been the same for Bumrah, who has played in all the matches expect that last T20I on the tour so far.

With India set to play 63 international games including 30 ODIs in the coming season, a fit Bumrah is a priority for both the selectors and the team management.

In case, Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar are rested, Shardul Thakur and Jaydev Unadkat are expected to shoulder the responsibilities of new ball.

Kerala’s yorker specialist Basil Thampi was in the reserves during the home T20 series against Sri Lanka and might just make a comeback in case either Bhuvneshwar or Bumrah or both are rested.