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Dasun Shanaka appointed Sri Lanka's T20I captain

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Published in Cricket
Monday, 22 February 2021 19:15

Dasun Shanaka has been appointed the Sri Lanka men's team's new T20I captain, replacing Lasith Malinga, who is understood to be out of contention for selection, having not trained with the squad in the past few months. Shanaka has previously led the T20 side - on the 2019 tour to Pakistan, where Sri Lanka won 3-0. More recently, he has also captained the Dambulla Viiking franchise at the Lanka Premier League. He has been handed the captaincy over Thisara Perera, who has also led Sri Lanka in the format before and had also been the captain of the winning LPL franchise.

Shanaka's first assignment will be the three-match T20 series in the West Indies beginning on March 3, and on this tour, Sri Lanka have two uncapped batsmen to choose from. Opener Pathum Nissanka and middle-order batsman Ashen Bandara have both been chosen in the 20-strong squad - Nissanka's selection in particular having resulted from strong domestic performances.

Dilshan Madushanka, a 20-year-old fast bowler with only four senior matches on his record, is the other uncapped player in the squad, while allrounder Dhananjaya Lakshan, who was among the finds of the LPL, has been overlooked.

Making a return, meanwhile, is spinner Akila Dananjaya, who last played for Sri Lanka in September 2019, before serving a one-year suspension over an illegal bowling action. Dananjaya has since remodeled his action, but was not especially successful in the three LPL matches he played in since his return. He is one of three frontline spinners in the squad, alongside legspinner Wanindu Hasaranga, and left-arm wristspinner Lakshan Sandakan. Two allrounders also add spin-bowling options - the offspin of Ramesh Mendis is available, as is the ambidextrous finger spin of Kamindu Mendis.

On the fast bowling front, Sri Lanka will miss Lahiru Kumara, who tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the team's departure to the Caribbean. In his place, the selectors have chosen Suranga Lakmal. Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera and Madushanka are the other quicks in the squad.

After Shanaka leads the team in the T20s that begin the tour, Dimuth Karunaratne will take over for the ODI and Test legs that follow. These teams last faced each other early in 2020, in Sri Lanka. On that tour, West Indies had won the T20s 2-0, and Sri Lanka swept the three-match ODI sereis.

Sri Lanka squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (ODI captain), Dasun Shanaka (T20 captain), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Ashen Bandara, Oshada Fernando, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Thisara Perera, Kamindu Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Ramesh Mendis, Nuwan Pradeep, Asitha Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Akila Dananajaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Dilshan Madushanka, Suranga Lakmal

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf

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