<
>

SL cricketers to undergo special training programme

Kusal Mendis and Upul Tharanga put on 111 for the second wicket AFP

Sri Lanka Cricket has asked 23 ODI cricketers to take part in a special training programme ahead of the Bangladesh tour, so new coach Chandika Hathurusingha can have "quality time" with the preliminary squad. Those cricketers, as a result, will not play in the ongoing domestic tournaments.

"The players were asked not to play domestic cricket following a request made by the head coach Chandika Hathurusingha and we complied with that," SLC president Thilanga Sumathipala said.

Hathurusingha has earned a reputation as a coach who likes to have close control over his team, and the training programme may be a means of establishing the culture he wishes to usher in. ODIs have also been Sri Lanka's most problematic format over the past two years.

The squad itself holds no major surprises, save perhaps for the re-inclusion of Kusal Mendis, who was left out of all Sri Lanka's outfits for the India tour. This does not necessarily mean Mendis is back - eight of the players in this preliminary squad will be cut before the team travels to Bangladesh. However, it is an indication that Mendis remains in Hathurusingha's long-term plans.

Lahiru Thirimanne (who has been modest across formats over the past two tours), and Dhananjaya de Silva (who has produced outstanding Test innings, but has not quite warmed to the limited-overs formats) have been excluded from this squad. Sachith Pathirana, the left-arm spinning allrounder, has also been omitted, following a string of mediocre limited-overs outings.

The only uncapped member of the squad is Shehan Madushanka - a 22-year-old right-arm quick who has played just five domestic matches so far.

The training programme begins on December 28. The ODI schedule for the Bangladesh tour has not yet been released.

Squad for training programme: Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Gamage, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sandakan, Chaturanga De Silva