SHANAKA DROPPED FOR AFGHANISTAN ODIS: NISSANKA AND KARUNARATNE RETURN
AFGHANISTAN TOUR OF SRI LANKA 2023
Shanaka dropped for Afghanistan ODIs; Nissanka and Karunaratne return.
Opening batter Pathum Nissanka, who missed the recent series against Zimbabwe due to injury, is back for the upcoming three-match ODI series against Afghanistan, beginning on Friday (February 9). All-rounder Chamika Karunaratne also returns to the mix while former captain Dasun Shanaka is the notable omission from the Zimbabwe series in the 16-member squad announced by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).
Shanaka's form with the bat in white-ball cricket has been under the scanner since 2022. Over the last two years, the 32-year-old has only tallied 584 runs from 32 innings at an underwhelming average of 20.13 while the strike-rate of 87.55 is also ordinary for a batter who has primarily played as the designated finisher. The other senior player who continues to be out of the selectors' radar is Dhananjaya de Silva. The newly appointed Test captain hasn't featured in ODIs since the 2023 World Cup.
Kusal Mendis continues to captain the side with Charith Asalanka donning the deputy's role. Core of the squad that featured in the Zimbabwe series has been retained with Jeffrey Vandersay being the one to miss out among the bowlers. His spot has been taken up by Karunaratne as the selectors look to add more balance to the squad. Janith Liyanage, who starred in a famous heist win against Zimbabwe, keeps his spot while Shevon Daniel and Sahan Arachchige also keep their spots.
All the games in the series shall be played at the Pallekele International Stadium in Pallekele on February 9, 11 and 14.