Mathews, Dimuth, and Chameera make the cut for the white ball series against Afghanistan

Dushan Hemantha and Matheesha Pathirana are in line to debut in the first ODI

Former skippers Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews and spearhead Dushmantha Chameera have been included in the Sri Lanka squad to face Afghanistan in the three-match ODI series scheduled to begin on June 2 in Mahinda Rajapaksa international stadium, Hambanthota.

Dimuth Karunaratne who was dropped from the white ball format after the 2019 world cup in England has been recalled to the squad to strengthen the top order where he is likely to open the batting along with Pathum Nissanka who is also back in the team after recovering from a back injury.

Dimuth Karunaratne who has played 86 test matches and 34 ODI has good experience as an opener he played his last ODI in 2021 March 14 against West Indies at North Sound. Karunarathna recently played two T20 matches at BPL in Dhaka and scored an unbeaten 70 and 21 for the Shinepokur team in the Dhaka Premier League tournament. He also had the opportunity to play Australia League white ball tournament and once again got a chance to enter the National white ball squad.

Meanwhile, Angelo Mathews who was also dropped from the white ball squad after his poor performance was given a chance at Sri Lanka’s tour to New Zealand in April but he failed to live up to expectations. It seems like selectors have once again given a chance to the former skipper to show his capabilities ahead of the world cup Qualifiers in June and July in Zimbabwe.

It is learnt the inclusion of Dimuth and Angelo in the squad will be a morale booster for the youngster, especially considering their experience.

Pacer Dushmantha Chameera has also found a spot in the 16-member squad after being out of action for almost 15 months after undergoing surgery on his ankle.

Chameera will be backed by Lasith Malinga like Matheesha Pathirana to strengthen the bowling department. Pacers Lahiru Kumara and Kasun Rajitha are also in the squad.

Another notable inclusion for the squad is
Leg-spinning all-rounder Dushan Hemantha who is also expected to debut in the first ODI.

Dushan Hemantha who was part of the Test squad that beat Ireland 2-0 in April but failed to earn his Test cap, has finally earned a call to the white ball squad for the first time to boost the spin attack alongside Wanindu Hasaranga and Maheesh Theekshana.

It is reported the selectors have backed more on the batters with including8 of them the likes of Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, skipper Dasun Shanaka and Sadeera Samarawickrama.

Sri Lanka is also likely to experiment with a new opening pair and is likely to go with Dimuth Karunaratne and Pathum Nissanka.

Wicketkeeper batter Sadeera Samarawickrama has also been recalled to the white ball set-up after almost 4 years after his decent performance in domestic cricket.

The only concern for Sri Lanka ahead of the world cup qualifiers next month is Kusal Janith Perera’s injury. As a result, he has also loose his spot in the squad to face Afghanistan but it is believed the dashing batter will be fully fit for the World Cup qualifiers in June-July in Zimbabwe.

16-Member squad:

Dimuth Karunaratne, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Charith Asalanka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Dasun Shanaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dushan Hemantha, Maheesh Theekshana, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Matheesha Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha

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