Gu­naratne likely to join the squad

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - COMMENT -

All rounder Asela Gu­naratne is ex­pected to join the Test team cur­rently tour­ing In­dia by Novem­ber 20, Sri Lanka Cricket said on Satur­day.

An ef­fec­tive all-rounder who has won sev­eral matches across all for­mats for Sri Lanka be­fore a thumb in­jury ruled him out dur­ing the home In­dian se­ries in July, has been asked to play at least two matches of the Emerg­ing Tro­phy tour­na­ment to re­gain match fit­ness.

Though he has fully re­cov­ered from the in­jury, the se­lec­tors did not con­sider him say­ing Gu­naratne should gain match fit­ness to con­sider him for se­lec­tion.

“We have asked him to play at least two matches in the cur­rent Emerg­ing Tro­phy Tour­na­ment to gain match fit­ness as we are hop­ing to send him to In­dia to join the team as the 16th player,” said SLC Pres­i­dent Thi­langa Su­math­ipala.

Gu­naratne rep­re­sents Army in do­mes­tic tour­na­ments and Emerg­ing Tro­phy al­lows all teams to en­list four se­nior play­ers.

Sri Lanka play three test matches start­ing Novem­ber 16 in Cal­cutta. Mean­while Su­math­ipala also said that they did not agree with the se­lec­tors' de­ci­sion to drop Kusal Mendis and Kaushal Silva from the 15-man squad for the In­dian Test se­ries.

“We had an hour-long dis­cus­sion with the se­lec­tors as we thought, both these crick­eters should have been con­sid­ered for the tour. At the end their de­ci­sion pre­vailed. But we strongly feel both of them should have made into the team and even the coach supported our view,” Board Pres­i­dent added.

Both Mendis and Silva en­dured a mod­est se­ries against Pak­istan in which both failed to make a de­cent con­tri­bu­tion to the team’s suc­cess.

Even Sri Lanka’s for­mer skip­per Ma­hela Jayawar­dene ques­tioned the se­lec­tors' wis­dom to drop him from the squad. He said even if Mendis is not play­ing, he should have been in the squad.

Re­spond­ing to Mendis’s ex­clu­sion, Chair­man of Se­lec­tors Graeme Labrooy had said they were only pro­tect­ing the player.

"We don't want a sit­u­a­tion where he plays two more in­nings, gets two low scores and then drop him and de­stroy his con­fi­dence fur­ther. He has got age on his side and we want him to go on to be­come one of the greats of the game. We want him to play for an­other ten years,” Labrooy had said.

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