Lasith Malinga recalled for Sri Lanka Asia Cup campaign

Monday, 3 September 2018 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Sri Lanka have named 35-year-old veteran pace bowler Lasith Malinga in their 16-man squad for the upcoming Asia Cup which commences on 15 September in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Something of a short-over specialist in the modern day, in a career which has yielded 301 ODI wickets at an average of under 20, Malinga is famed for his death bowling. He last turned out for his country in an ODI against India in September 2017, and has not played in the Test format for Sri Lanka since 2010. 

Malinga is famously the only bowler to have taken two ICC Cricket World Cup hat-tricks and Sri Lanka will hope that his recall might rekindle an ODI spark which has eluded them in recent times, having won just two of their last 12 series.

Twenty-five-year-old left-arm slow bowler Amila Aponso, who has just six ODI and two T20I appearances to his name, has been called up as an extra spin option alongside the established Akila Dananjaya and spinning all-rounders Dilruwan Perera and Dhananjaya de Silva. 

Wicketkeeper Niroshan Dickwella has been put on the standby list, having not made the squad of 16, so Test captain Dinesh Chandimal, included, is expected to take the gloves. 

Lakshan Sadakan and Shehan Jayasuriya are on the standby list despite having played in the recent ODI series defeat to South Africa, while paceman Lahiru Kumara and slow bowler Prabath Jayasuriya have both been omitted from the squad entirely.

Angelo Mathews will captain the side which is one full of experienced faces, including the likes of Upul Tharanga, Suranga Lakmal, Thisara Perera and the aforementioned Chandimal and Dilruwan. 

Bright young star Kusal Mendis will look to make an impact with the bat after going 19 games without an ODI 50, while 25-year-old fast bowler Kasun Rajitha, who has just one cap to his name, will hope to be given a spot in the team after an impressive debut year in Test cricket granted him his ODI debut against South Africa in August. 

Sri Lanka will take on Afghanistan and Bangladesh in Group A, while India and Pakistan will take on either Malaysia, Oman, UAE, Nepal, Singapore or Hong Kong in Group B. The top two teams in both groups progress to to the semi-finals, before the final will commence on Friday, 28 September.

India rest King Kohli for Asia Cup cricket

NEW DELHI, AFP: India’s selectors Saturday rested prolific skipper Virat Kohli for the upcoming Asia Cup one-day cricket tournament in the UAE where arch-rivals Pakistan are also competing. 

Batsman Rohit Sharma will lead the 16-member squad in Kohli’s absence during the regional six-team competition to be held from 15-28 September. 

“Considering the workload, we have given him (Kohli) rest,” the Chairman of selectors M.S.K. Prasad told reporters in Mumbai. 

“He has been playing continuously for quite some time. He’s been on the road since the Indian Premier League (IPL). We need to preserve some of the precious players who are playing in all three formats.” Kohli, 29, is currently leading the Indian side in a five-Test series in England, where he has scored 486 runs so far, including two centuries. 

The England series ends on 11 September, four days before the start of the Asia Cup. 

And in less than a week after the Asia Cup final, India are set to play against West Indies in a home Test series. 

Before the England series, Kohli was forced to miss out on a stint with Surrey due to a neck injury, and in the Lord’s Test, he suffered a lower-back strain. 

The selectors also picked 20-year-old uncapped left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed, who has impressed in the shorter formats of the game. 

Middle-order batsmen Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey and Kedar Jadhav were brought back after missing India’s ODI series against England. 

Pacemen Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were also included, with the duo having recovered from their injuries. 

Among those who missed out were batsman Suresh Raina and bowler Umesh Yadav. 

Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan are the other teams in the fray in the 50-over contest. The sixth team will be decided through a qualifier being held in Malaysia. 

Squad: Rohit Sharma (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, K.L. Rahul, Ambati Rayudu, Manish Pandey, Kedar Jadhav, M. S. Dhoni, Dinesh Karthik, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Axar Patel, Shardul Thakur, Khaleel Ahmed, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah.