Gunaratne likely to join the squad
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.