All-rounder Thisara Perera will take over as Sri Lanka’s ODI captain from the upcoming three-match series against India. Perera will also lead the side in the three-match Twenty20 International series.
The 28-year-old will take over from opening batsman Upul Tharanga under whose captaincy Sri Lanka suffered three 5-0 whitewashes this year.
When Angelo Mathews stepped down as captain in July this year, the captaincy was split and Tharanga was handed the ODI mantle while Dinesh Chandimal took over as Test captain.
Given Tharanga’s reserved nature, Sanath Jayasuriya’s decision to elevate his former opening partner as captain surprised many although he has been in prolific form this year having amassed over 800 runs in 22 ODIs at an average of 47 with two centuries and five half-centuries.
Apart from suffering whitewashes at the hands of South Africa, India and Pakistan this year, that threatened automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup, Tharanga also got into trouble twice due to slow over rates and was suspended.
Last month, he opted out of playing the third and final T20I against Pakistan in Lahore, which brought in Perera as Sri Lanka’s captain for the three-match series as Sri Lanka Cricket refused to name separate squads for the UAE leg and the Lahore game.
Cricbuzz understands that the selectors looked at various options but eventually settled in for Perera. The manner in which Perera brought the side together during the T20 series seems to have impressed the selectors although an under-strength Sri Lankan side were whitewashed 3-0 by Pakistan.
There were discussions to hand back the ODI captaincy to Mathews, but his constant struggles with injuries ruled him out. The name of Dinesh Chandimal was also discussed, but the Test captain has struggled in recent ODIs having been surprisingly axed for the home series against Zimbabwe.