More changes to the squad; Vice Captain Dhanajaya de Silva pulls out

Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe ODI series

Wednesday, 12 January 2022 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Sa’adi Thawfeeq

Kamindu Mendis

The 18-member Sri Lanka squad picked for the three-match ODI series against Zimbabwe has undergone a further change with Vice Captain Dhananjaya de Silva making himself unavailable for personal reasons.

De Silva’s wife has given birth and he has been granted paternity leave by Sri Lanka Cricket.  

De Silva has been replaced by 23-year-old batting all-rounder Kamindu Mendis, who has represented Sri Lanka in four ODIs and five T20Is.

Earlier the squad underwent four changes from the original one selected with batsmen Kusal Mendis and Dinesh Chandimal being named to replace Avishka Fernando and Janith Liyanage, both of whom have been ruled out of the series after testing COVID-19 positive. Fast bowlers Vishwa Fernando and Asitha Fernando were added to the squad to replace Lahiru Kumara and Kalana Perera, who had failed fitness tests.

The three ODIs will be played at Pallekele on 16, 18 and 21 January and will be part of the World Cup Super League where the teams finishing in the first eight slots gain automatic qualification for the 2023 World Cup in India.

Sri Lanka are currently seventh in the standings. Zimbabwe, at the bottom in 13th, will be looking to improve their position having brought to Sri Lanka an experienced squad.

The last occasion Zimbabwe toured Sri Lanka for an ODI series they pulled off a stunning 3-2 win and five members of that winning side are in the present team, namely, skipper Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Sikander Raza, Ryan Burl and Tendai Chatara.

Zimbabwe’s performance in ODI cricket recently has not been a good one having lost 3-0 to Bangladesh at home and drawing 1-1 to Ireland away last year.

They last won an ODI series in 2019 beating UAE 4-0 but since then have suffered series defeats at the hands of Netherlands, Ireland, Bangladesh (twice) and Pakistan. So, it will be a big ask for Zimbabwe to beat Sri Lanka in their own conditions. Sri Lanka won the last ODI series they hosted, beating South Africa 2-1 in September last year.

Meanwhile the match officials for the series have been named by SLC with ICC Chief Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle officiating as the Match Referee. The Umpiring panel will comprise elite panel umpire Kumar Dharmasena, Ruchira Palliyaguruge, Raveendra Wimalasiri, Lyndon Hannibal and Prageeth Rambukwella.