SL vs NZ: Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera brought back for limited-overs series

Angelo Mathews returns to Sri Lanka's white-ball line up, and Kusal Perera will play for the first time in over a year.

SL vs NZ: Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera brought back for limited-overs series
  • Sinchan Saha | March 17, 2023 | 6:22 pm

After more than two years, Angelo Mathews returns to Sri Lanka’s white-ball line up, and Kusal Perera will play for the first time in over a year. The two players were important for the ODI and T20I crews Sri Lanka Cricket have chosen for the impending series in New Zealand.

Image Source: Sportzwiki

Lasith Croospulle and Sahan Arachchige, both uncapped batters, were part of the teams as well. Nuwanidu Fernando, a batsman, could make his T20I debut, and Matheesha Pathirana, a seamer, is hoping to make his ODI debut.

Jeffrey Vandersay, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Nuwan Thushara, and the rest of the team did not travel to India in January.

After an awful ODI tour of India earlier this year, Mathews and Perera were included, and there were calls to pick more seniors in a World Cup year.

Despite not playing much after 16 months of recovery from a shoulder injury, Perera was reinstated. Despite the possibility that Sri Lanka might consider him for the ODI World Cup in India in October and November, he is currently only a member of the T20 squad to manage his workload.

Since Sri Lanka’s March 2021 tour of the West Indies, Mathews has not played for the white-ball teams. His most recent limited-overs experience came in two games against the England Lions for Sri Lanka A, in which he scored fifty runs, and in the Lanka Premier League, where he scored 201 runs for the Colombo Stars at an average of 40.20. Although his fitness has improved over the past year, he is not considered a seam-bowling option that is always reliable.

Who are the new faces?

Croospulle, who bats first, scored two centuries and a fifty in a List-A match against the England Lions.

Arachchige also put together a strong performance against the Lions, scoring crucial runs in the lower order and taking wickets with his off breaks. Nuwanidu also stood out against the Lions, scoring two runs over 50, and he also scored fifty against India to complete a strong run of form that began with the LPL. Croospulle, Nuwanidu, and Arachchige are all in the T20I team, while Arachchige is in the ODI team.

Avishka is one of the most well-known exclusions. He had just returned to the national team for the India tour following an impressive LPL, where he finished as the tournament’s top scorer. In the most recent NSL 4-day tournament, he also scored 67 and 150. However, the selectors were forced to exclude him due to his poor performance in India, subpar performances against the Lions, and intense competition for top-order spots.

Image Source: The Indian Express

The absence of Rajapaksa is less troubling because, in recent months, the batter has resembled the player who was awarded Player of the Match in the 2022 Asia Cup final.

How the rest of the squads shape up

The remaining members of Sri Lanka’s squad appear to be fairly settled. Dasun Shanaka will lead both teams, and Kusal Mendis, Dhananjaya de Silva, Charith Asalanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, and Chamika Karunaratne will play the majority of the batting for both white-ball teams.

In addition to bowling seam, Karunaratne is a member of a pace unit that also includes Pathirana, Kasun Rajitha, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Pramod Madushan, and Kasun Rajitha. Dushmantha Chameera was originally scheduled to play, but the coaches are limiting how much time he gets on the field because of his history of injuries.

“The bowler will not be able to tour, as he is still undergoing his structured return-to-play program, a part of his rehabilitation program, following his left ankle surgery,”

SLC said. Madushan has taken his place in the T20I side, while Pathirana replaces him in the ODI squad.

However, despite a strong LPL, Thushara might consider himself unlucky for having not played India. In the seam-bowling department, Sri Lanka has a lot of options, and in Pathirana, they already have another slinger who has a little bit more pace.

With Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, and the young allrounder Dunith Wellalage joining the spinners, there are no surprises. Because Sri Lanka does not require an additional spin option in New Zealand, Vandersay is left out.

The first of Sri Lanka’s four matches against New Zealand will be an ODI on March 25 in Auckland, followed by three T20Is. On April 2, the T20Is will begin.

T20 squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt.), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis (wk), Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Kusal Janith Perera, Lasith Croospulle, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Nuwanidu Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Dilshan Madushanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Matheesha Pathirana, Pramod Madushan.

ODI squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt.), Pathum Nissanka, Nuwanidu Fernando, Kusal Mendis (wk), Angelo Mathews, Charith Asalanka, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dhananjaya De Silva, Sahan Arachchige, Wanindu Hasaranga, Dunith Wellalage, Maheesh Theekshana, Kasun Rajitha, Lahiru Kumara, Pramod Madushan, Dilshan Madushanka, Chamika Karunaratne, Matheesha Pathirana.

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