Sri Lanka batsman Asela Gunaratne’s injury woes continue, having now been ruled out of next month’s T20 tri-series – the Nidahas Trophy – with an injury to his right arm. An SLC release said he sustained a “grade II rotator cuff strain with contusion” while taking part in a fielding drill on their recent tour of Bangladesh. Although Sri Lanka won each of the three trophies that had been up for grabs, the 32-year old did not have the best time personally: he made only 35 ODI runs in four innings.
While Gunaratne is the only player to have been ruled out so far, several others are also battling to regain fitness. Most notable among these is captain Angelo Mathews who missed the majority of the Bangladesh tour with another in a long line of hamstring injuries, and is yet to make a full recovery. Also ailing from a hamstring complaint is fast bowler Shehan Madushanka, who sustained the injury during the final match of the Bangladesh tour. Batsman Kusal Perera, meanwhile, had been out with a side strain since mid-January.
More clarity on who will be available for selection should emerge after this weekend, when the first round of a domestic T20 tournament is set to be played. “All players are asked to play club T20 games this weekend,” cricket manager Asanka Gurusinha told ESPNcricinfo. “After that we will look at how the injured guys come up.”
Injuries – particularly muscle strains – have been rife among Sri Lanka’s national players over the past year. In fact, before he got injured again, Kusal Perera had only recently made a return to international cricket after five months due to a hamstring tear. Gunaratne had also missed several months of cricket, though that was due to a fracture. Mathews meanwhile, has been fit for fewer matches than he has been unavailable for, over the past 18 months.
The Nidahas Trophy will be contested by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and will begin on March 6.