Angelo Mathews' ongoing hamstring troubles have ruled him out of the Nidahas Trophy tri-nation series, which begins next week. Though nominally Sri Lanka's limited-overs captain, he has led in only one ODI since his reinstatement in early January. Sri Lanka were led by Dinesh Chandimal in the six remaining limited-overs games on the tour of Bangladesh, and it is Chandimal again who is expected to take the reins for the T20I tri-series in Sri Lanka, also involving India and Bangladesh.
There was more bad news for Sri Lanka in the approach to the tournament. Fast bowler Shehan Madushanka, who had made an impressive start to his international career in Bangladesh, has himself been ruled out by a hamstring strain he sustained in Bangladesh. Allrounder Asela Gunaratne, meanwhile, has been ruled out due to a rotator cuff strain.
However, batsman Kusal Perera, who had been among the injured in Bangladesh, has played two matches for Colts Cricket Club in the ongoing domestic T20 league, and is fit enough to have been named in Sri Lanka's provisional 20-member squad. That squad will be trimmed to 15 before the tournament begins.
Mathews' recent history of injury-layoffs does not make for encouraging reading. Since late 2016, he has missed eight out of 18 Tests, 24 of 40 ODIs, and 14 of 19 T20s. In short, he has only been available for 40% of Sri Lanka's international fixtures. Mathews and Sri Lanka's physios have said that this current spate of injuries is a consequence of the allrounder's incredibly heavy workload in previous years. Mathews was one of the most active cricketers in the world between 2013 and 2016, shouldering both batting and bowling responsibilities, in addition to captaining Sri Lanka across formats.
The Nidahas Trophy begins on March 6 and runs for 12 days.
Sri Lanka preliminary squad: Dinesh Chandimal (capt), Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dasun Shanaka, Kusal Perera, Thisara Perera, Jeevan Mendis, Suranga Lakmal, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Isuru Udana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Akila Dananjaya, Amila Aponso, Asitha Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Dhananjaya de Silva