Lakshan, Chandimal and Asitha excluded from SL’s 20-man squad for India tour

For their limited-overs trip of India starting next month, Sri Lanka has named a 20-man team. They will play three T20Is and three ODIs there. Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Nuwan Thushara will represent their teams exclusively in the T20Is, while Jeffrey Vandersay and Nuwanidu Fernando—who is set to make his debut—will represent their teams exclusively in the ODI portion of the series.

In the T20Is and ODIs, respectively, Wanindu Hasaranga and Kusal Mendis will serve as Dasun Shanaka’s assistants. Dhananjaya Lakshan, Asitha Fernando, and Dinesh Chandimal were three players who were not on the team that played Afghanistan last month. Chandimal, however, might consider himself unlucky because he was among the better players in the recently finished Lanka Premier League;

He was the third-highest run-scorer in the competition with an average of 31.88 and a strike rate of 126.99, and he was instrumental in the Colombo Stars’ run to the championship game. In comparison, Rajapaksa can consider his participation lucky after a string of unimpressive performances.

His performance in the LPL saw him score just 95 runs over seven innings at a strike rate of 105.55, far below his career strike rate of 135.09; his performance in the T20 World Cup was only marginally better, hitting 125 runs over seven innings at 119.04. This led to his retention in the T20I squad.

However, the remaining inclusions have proven to be worthwhile. Chamika Karunaratne, who was benched for the Afghanistan series after a dry period both on and off the field, found his rhythm again in the LPL.

The 26-year-old all-rounder took seven wickets in the competition, and while he only scored 109 runs, he did so at an impressive strike rate of 162.68—a significant increase from his career strike rate of 104.27—showing flashes of the finisher many believe he is capable of becoming.

After missing almost a year due to a knee injury, Avishka Fernando made her comeback this month. It appears like she hasn’t missed a beat, leading the LPL in runs scored with 339 and leading the Jaffna Kings to yet another championship defence.

The same could be said about Sadeera Samarawickrama, a teammate from Jaffna who was awarded player of the tournament for his 294 runs, which were crucial to their middle order and were second only to Fernando’s total.

Even though he is a touch rough around the edges, Nuwanidu was another batter in the LPL who caught the eye, similar to Samarawickrama. The 23-year-old managed to stand out as his Galle Gladiators team suffered with inconsistency, scoring 211 runs at a strike rate of 131.05 and, more crucially, demonstrating the ability to clear the ropes, particularly when facing spinners.

Another outstanding Galle player limited by his team’s wayward play was Nuwan Thushara, who picked up 14 wickets at an economy rate of 7.44, the second-highest in this year’s LPL. Lasith Malinga has been compared to Thushara because of his low-slinging style, but while Thushara lacks the latter’s speed, he has recently started adding an astonishing level of control and variation to his repertoire.

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