SLC to announce new ODI captain today


Sri Lanka’s selectors will meet today to decide on the ODI captain taking the team through to 2019 World Cup. Former captain Angelo Mathews and Test captain Dinesh Chandimal are the two candidates for the role.

by Rex Clementine

Sri Lanka will announce their new white ball captain today during a media briefing at 11:00 am at the board headquarters at Maitland Place. Prior to the announcement, the selection panel and Head Coach Chandika Hathurusingha will have a meeting at 8:30 am to decide who will take Sri Lanka’s through to the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup in England and Wales.

There are only two candidates for the ODI captaincy as SLC has decided to end the Thisara Perera experiment.

Perera was Sri Lanka’s fifth ODI captain in 2017 having taken over from Upul Tharanga.

Angelo Mathews, who quit the captaincy in July last year after a humiliating series defeat to Zimbabwe is the front runner having expressed his willingness to lead the side again following the arrival of his mentor Hathurusingha as new coach.

Mathews graduated to the Test team after spending two years with Hathurusingha with the ‘A’ team. Dinesh Chandimal, the Test captain is also in the reckoning. The ODI captaincy effectively will be a toss up between the two of them.

One factor that will be debated tomorrow is the concerns about Mathews’ injuries. Since returning early from the tour of South Africa last January with a hamstring injury, Mathews missed the tour to Australia and the home series against Bangladesh.

He was Sri Lanka’s best batsman during the recent tour to India, but missed the last T-20 International in Bombay having hurt his hamstring in Indore during the second T-20 International. Mathews underwent a fitness test on Sunday and came off well.

Chandimal, meanwhile, has been in prolific form in Test cricket. He scored over 1000 runs in 2017 with a match winning hundred in Abu Dhabi and another match saving knock in Delhi. However, since being surprisingly axed for the ODI series against Zimbabwe, he has lacked confidence in the shorter format of the game.

Chandimal is expected to be named in the ODI squad to help bolster a fragile middle order.

Sri Lanka played 29 ODIs in 2017 and lost 23 of them and won only five games. One match ended in no result. During the disappointing year, the Sri Lankans suffered three 5-0 whitewashes at the hands of South Africa, India and Pakistan.

The squad for the tour of Bangladesh for the tri-nation series that also involves Zimbabwe will be announced tomorrow.

Sri Lanka will play two Tests and two T-20 Internationals in Bangladesh after the tri-nation series.

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