U-19 Youth skipper Wellalage included in ODI squad

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Sri Lanka have named under-19 Youth skipper Dunith Wellalage in their 21-member ODI squad to face Australia next week. 

The 19-year-old bowling all-rounder was the star performer during the under-19 World Cup. His left-arm spin earned him five-fers in wins against Scotland and Australia, while his three-fers against West Indies and Afghanistan meant he finished as the highest wicket-taker of the competition with 17 wickets. With the bat, he struck 52 to take down Australia, made 113 against South Africa and notched up 40 against Pakistan.

Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Madushanka and Asitha Fernando have also returned to the ODI squad.

Making way are fast-bowling trio Nuwan Pradeep, Chamika Gunasekera and Shiran Fernando, wicketkeeper-batter Minod Bhanuka and spin-bowling all-rounder Kamindu Mendis. Apart from veteran Pradeep, the exclusion of the other four were largely expected as they had been included as part of a very inexperienced side that toured Zimbabwe in the last ODI series in January.

A potential debut for 28-year-old Pramod Madushan, however, might be less likely with Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Thushara and Fernando – all included on the back of an impressive Test series against Bangladesh – ahead of him in the seam-bowling pecking order.

Meanwhile, the spin-bowling contingent is also well stocked, with the first choice pair of Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana supplemented by the resurgent wrist spin of Jeffrey Vandersay and left-arm orthodox of Praveen Jayawickrama.

Despite largely disappointing performances with the bat, Assistant cum Batting Coach Naveed Nawaz said that no major changes will be made to the team or batting positions, as they have a policy of giving longer runs for players to establish themselves in their respective batting position and understand their roles in those positions, which is common to their approach in any format.

The five-match series gets underway on 14 June in Pallekele.

Squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dinesh Chandimal, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Niroshan Dickwella, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Asitha Fernando, Nuwan Thushara, Ramesh Mendis, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lahiru Madushanka, Dunith Wellalage, Pramod Madushan

By Anjana Kaluarachchi in Pallekele