Sri Lanka’s 3-0 sweep in the ODIs against West Indies has come with some collateral damage. Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep and allrounder Dhananjaya de Silva will miss the two-match T20I series which begins March 4, after both picked up injuries in the third ODI on Sunday. Asitha Fernando, the right-arm quick, is the only replacement who has been called up.
Pradeep hobbled off the field after 4.3 overs in Pallkelle, picking up a hamstring injury three deliveries into his second spell. De Silva injured his wrist during the second innings after scoring a half-century that took the hosts to a match-winning score of 307.
Fernando’s only Sri Lanka appearance came in an ODI in 2017, where he bowled just two overs against Zimbabwe. Since then, he has been in and out of squads – across all three formats – without breaking into the playing XI. In 20 T20 games, he has an economy of 6.98 and an average of 16.84. Even so, he is once again likely to be behind the first-choice trio of Lahiru Kumara, Lasith Malinga, and Isuru Udana in terms of the pecking order.
Fernando has been chosen partly due to his first-class form. He has taken 26 wickets at an average of 17.61 across four matches in the ongoing Premier League Tournament. It is likely because the first-class competition is in full swing that that the selectors have named no replacement for de Silva, as well.
Angelo Mathews and Dasun Shanaka, also, offer pace options. Their form, together with the recent consistency shown by Thisara Perera and Wanindu Hasaranga may be why there was no replacement sought for de Silva.
Hamstring injuries have been a constant problem for Pradeep, and this one will keep him out for at least six weeks, which means that he is not available for the forthcoming Tests against England. In any case, he has not been chosen in the longest format for a while, mainly because of his injury problems.
De Silva, meanwhile, is understood to be facing a shorter recovery period, and should be back in time for the Tests, the first of which begins on March 19.
Updated Sri Lanka squad: Lasith Malinga (capt.), Avishka Fernando, Kusal Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Thisara Perera, Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Isuru Udana, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara