Dinesh Chandimal, the Sri Lanka Test captain, has been ruled out of the first Test against India starting in Galle on July 26 following a diagnosis of pneumonia.
Chandimal, who led Sri Lanka to a four-wicket victory against Zimbabwe earlier this week in his first Test as skipper, has been down with fever for the last couple of days, and was taken to the Nawaloka Hospital in Colombo on Friday (July 21) morning after failing to show any improvement, Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed in the afternoon.
He is also doubtful for the second Test, starting at the SSC ground on August 3.
In Chandimal’s absence, Rangana Herath, the veteran left-arm spinner, will lead the side once again even though Upul Tharanga had been nominated the vice-captain for the Zimbabwe Test. Herath had led Sri Lanka in Tests last year on the tour of Zimbabwe, as well as this year when Bangladesh toured Sri Lanka.
Chandimal had been pencilled in to address a joint press conference alongside Virat Kohli and the coaching staff of the two teams on Thursday evening, but had to give it a miss following instructions from Asanka Gurusinha, the team’s cricket manager who had then insisted that Chandimal should be fine in a day or two.
In his absence, Tharanga stepped in as the player representative from the Sri Lankan camp.
“Chandimal is down with the flu,” Gurusinha had said. “He was going to come today but we instructed him not to. A couple of days, and he will be fine, he will be up and running.”
Gurusinha had also revealed that Chandimal had been cleared of dengue. “It is not dengue, he was actually tested this morning, so all clear on that front,” said Gurusinha, a member of the 1996 World Cup-winning side. “It’s just a fever that is going around right now.”
Chandimal, 27, has 2610 runs from 37 Tests at 42.09, and made a memorable unbeaten 162 in the first Test in Galle on India’s last tour of 2015, an effort that helped Sri Lanka overturn a 192-run first-innings deficit and complete a remarkable 63-run victory.