Fast bowlers Lahiru Kumara and Binura Fernando were included in Sri Lanka’s final 15-member squad for the T20 World Cup this month, with Akila Dananjaya and Pathum Nissanka also making the final cut.
The additions of Kumara and Fernando, who were among the four reserve players named alongside the provisional 15-member squad announced in September, will strengthen Sri Lanka’s pace attack that had been hit with injuries to Nuwan Pradeep and all-rounder Lahiru Madushanka.
While their inclusion was straight-forward, Madushanka’s injury also allowed Sri Lanka to name a replacement from outside those 19 players, and that slot was used to draft in Nissanka in a bid to shore up the team’s batting deficiencies.
Nissanka was among five additional players sent to Oman along with the original 19-member contingent and replaces Kamindu Mendis.
Dananjaya was also among the reserve players named in September, but his inclusion into the final 15 comes was somewhat of a surprise.
He had a poor T20I home series against South Africa and was not expected to make the World Cup squad, with his performances in the T20s against Oman, conceding 49 runs in six wicketless overs in the two matches, not particularly supporting his case.
Additionally, his inclusion comes at the cost of Praveen Jayawickrama which, along with the omission of the ambidextrous Mendis, means Sri Lanka will have no left-arm spin options in their arsenal.
Among the players who were retained from the original squad, Dhananjaya de Silva is perhaps luckiest, also having had a poor run in that home series against South Africa, but the limited batting options available perhaps secured him his place.
Sri Lanka will next face Bangladesh and Papua New Guinea in World Cup warmups this week before they begin their campaign in the first round of the T20 World Cup on October 18.