Sri Lanka has recalled all-rounders Thisara Perera and Milinda Siriwardana and included left-arm bowlers Malinda Pushpakumara (spin) and Vishwa Fernando (pace) in their 15-man squad to face India in a series of five One-Day Internationals and a one-off T20 International.
These players were overlooked for the last ODI series against Zimbabwe which Sri Lanka lost 2-3.
Fernando and Pushpakumara both figured in the recently concluded Test series against India but neither has played in an ODI or T20I.
The rest of the squad is the same that played against Zimbabwe.
Upul Tharanga who will lead Sri Lanka in both formats has issued a statement through Sri Lanka Cricket urging the nation’s cricket fans to rally round the team and have confidence in them.
“Every team goes through a rough patch,” said Tharanga. “This is something that happens in cycles to every team and every nation no matter how great a cricketing nation they are. Sri Lanka dominated in all three formats for a good 18 years – don’t forget we are now going through a rough patch.
“Obviously there are some things we can’t openly discuss due to strategic reasons but there are certain areas behind the scenes that need to fall into place for us. These areas are being taken care of, and we are seeing the results behind the scenes – however it will take a little more time for it to be seen externally, so please have patience, and most importantly have faith.
“Sri Lanka has always been stronger in the white-ball format, and I am confident that we will come out strong and beat India. We have the talent and we have the skill.
“We have been putting in the hard work, we just need the spirit, and for that we need your support too. The support of our fans plays a big role in the morale of the team. We play for our country and our goal is to bring pride to the 20 million people in this nation – so your support is something that matters greatly to us.
“Yesterday (Monday) despite the defeat, we saw spectators cheering us and applauding us – this is what we need. It inspires us to fight harder too – so as the captain of the ODI and T20 teams, I want to appeal to each and everyone to rally round us and give us the strength.”
Sri Lanka has not won a bilateral ODI series against a full member country since beating West Indies 3-0 at home in November 2015 and has slipped in the rankings to number eight. However in the ICC Champions Trophy group match they pulled off a stunning seven-wicket win over India chasing down a target of 322 at the Oval. The first ODI against India commences at Dambulla on August 20.
SRI LANKA ODI & T20I SQUAD:
Upul Tharanga (captain), Angelo Mathews, Niroshan Dickwella, Dhanushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedera, Milinda Siriwardana, Malinda Pushpakumara, Akila Dhananjaya, Lakshan Sandakan, Thisara Perera, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lasith Malinga, Dushmantha Chameera, Vishwa Fernando.