Colombo: Poor form and player injuries have prompted Sri Lanka's selectors to make sweeping changes to the squad for the tri-nation tournament in Bangladesh next month, also featuring India. Those dropped include batsmen Sanath Jayasuriya and Chamara Kapugedera, fast bowler Lasith Malinga and spinner Ajantha Mendis, all of whom had disappointing performances on the recent tour of India.
Sri Lanka lost the three-Test series 0-2, level the two Twenty20s and lost the five-match ODI series 1-3. Injuries to key players through the tour made the assignment in India all the more tough.
In fact, batsman Mahela Jayawardene, allrounder Angelo Mathews and spinner Muttiah Muralitharan and fast bowler Dilhara Fernando were not considered for the 15-man squad to Bangladesh, having picked up injuries in India.
Among the new inclusions are Chamara Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, legspinner Malinga Bandara and seamer Thilan Thushara.
Thirimanne, 20, finished as Ragama Cricket Club's leading run-getter this season, with 709 runs in eight matches at 59.08, including two centuries and five fifties. Selection panel sources said Thirimanne was an exciting prospect and his ability to finsh a game would be extremely handy.
Left-arm fast bowler Thushara also made a return to the side after a freak shoulder injury which forced him to return from India. Allrounder Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Suranga Lakmal and Suraj Randiv, who were replacements to India, have been retained.
The tournament will be played from January 4-13 with Sri Lanka taking on the hosts in the first match in Mirpur.
Squad: Kumar Sangakkara (capt & wk), Tillakaratne Dilshan (vice-captain), Upul Tharanga, Thilan Samaraweera, Thilina Kandamby, Chamara Silva, Lahiru Thirimanne, Thissara Perera, Muthumudalige Pushpakumara, Malinga Bandara, Suraj Randiv, Thilan Thushara, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Kulasekara and Chanaka Welagedera.