Chandimal picked for SA Tests despite facing suspension

Published : 9:10 am  July 6, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Shehan Daniel 

Dinesh Chandimal was yesterday named in Sri Lanka’s Squad for the two-Test series against South Africa, despite facing a likely suspension that could rule him out of the series. 

Chandimal, along with Coach Chandika Hathurusingha and Asanka Gurusinha, face an International Cricket Council (ICC) inquiry on July 10, two days before the first Test in Galle, on charges of bringing the game into disrepute – levelled against them after Sri Lanka delayed the start of play on day three of the second Test against the West Indies in St. Lucia last month. 

All three have accepted the level three charge which carries a minimum punishment of four suspension points and corresponds to a two-Test suspension, but the hope is that the Judiciary Commissioner at the hearing Michael Beloff QC will show some leniency in whatever punishment he hands out. 

In the event Chandimal – Sri Lanka’s second highest run-scorer against the West Indies even though he played just two of the three Tests – is suspended, fast bowler Suranga Lakmal will likely take over the captaincy, having led Sri Lanka to a series-levelling win against the West Indies in Barbados. 

Minimum punishment

If the minimum punishment is upheld, Sri Lanka will also be without the services of Hathurusingha and Gurusinha for the Test series, although Gurusinha has relinquished his position as Team Manager after he took over the High Performance Manager’s role. 

The squad otherwise remains largely unchanged with wrist-spinner Lakshan Sandakan included as an added option to Sri Lanka’s spin-attack that includes Rangana Herath, Dilruwan Perera and Akila Dhananjaya.  Jeffrey Vandersay may have kept Sandakan out of the squad, had he not been recalled from the West Indies last month following disciplinary issues with Sri Lanka Cricket yet to announce what action it would take against the right-arm leg-spinner. 
Herath’s participation however will be based on how his recovery from injury progresses, with the same situation facing batsman Kusal Janith Perera.  

Perera was diagnosed with a side and chest strain during the last Test against the West Indies, with Chairman of the Selection Committee Graeme Labrooy saying they were taking precautions with the batsman. 

Fitness tests

“The team only starts practices tomorrow, so we will do some fitness tests on July 9 or 10 to see how he has progressed and if he is fit for the first Test,” Labrooy said. 

Also missing out is Mahela Udawatte, who had a woeful debut series against the West Indies during which he scored just 23 runs in four innings against the West Indies, with Dimuth Karunaratne almost certainly slotting back in at the top of innings after recovering from a fractured hand. 

Angelo Mathews, who missed the last two Tests having returned home for the birth of his second child, is also likely to feature in Sri Lanka’s middle order. 

Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka and Roshen Silva were also named in a Sri Lanka Board XI squad that will be captained by Mathews, for a two-day warm-up match against the South Africans starting on Saturday.  
Sri Lanka Test Squad: Dinesh Chandimal (Captain), Angelo Mathews, Dimuth Karunaratne, Kusal Mendis, Kusal Janith Perera (subject to fitness), Danushka Gunathilaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Roshen Silva, Niroshan Dickwella, Rangana Herath (subject to fitness), Suranga Lakmal (Vice-Captain), Dilruwan Perera, Akila Dananjaya, Lahiru Kumara, Lakshan Sandakan and Kasun Rajitha.

Stand byes: Asitha Fernando, Dasun Shanaka, Malinda Pushpakumara and Shehan Jayasuriya.

The Board XI Squad: Angelo Mathews (Captain), Kaushal Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Roshen Silva, Minod Bhanuka, Avishka Fernando, Kasun Madushanka, Lasith Ambuldeniya, Vimukthi Perera and Asitha Fernando.
Reserves: Ashen Bandara, Vikum Sanjaya and Wanindu Hasaranga.