Randiv picked for Pakistan ODIs

Offspinner Suraj Randiv has been recalled to the Sri Lanka squad three years after he last played an ODI, as part of a new-look spin attack for the three-match one-day series against Pakistan. Opener Upul Tharanga has also been named in the squad, thanks largely to his good returns in the Pakistan Test series, while Dinesh Chandimal returns to the ODI fray, following a successful one-day stint with Sri Lanka A.

Legspinner Seekkuge Prasanna finds a place as well, alongside Dhammika Prasad. Allrounder Thisara Perera has also been included, after leaving the squad early during ODI series against South Africa, citing mental stress.

Randiv and Prasanna have effectively been named in place of Sachithra Senanayake, who is currently undergoing remedial work on his action after being banned from international cricket, and Ajantha Mendis, who has been dropped. Rangana Herath is also in the squad, but given his extraordinary workload in Tests this year, he may be sparingly used.

Randiv had for some time been pigeon-holed as a Test bowler, despite his 33 ODI wickets at 30.54, but a successful stretch in first-class cricket has paved way for his return. He dismissed 43 batsmen at 26.48 in the Premier League Tournament earlier this year, and had also taken eight wickets in an unofficial Test against England Lions in late February. His last ODI had been in August 2011. Prasanna’s performances with the A side have contributed to his comeback. He had last played for Sri Lanka in the World T20.

Two hundreds and a fifty in five completed one-day innings with Sri Lanka A, has been Chandimal’s springboard back into the top team. He was axed and sent to England following a failure in the first Test against South Africa, but began to score heavily as soon as he had joined the A side. Lahiru Thirimanne has also been named in the ODI squad as vice-captain.

Like Tharanga, Prasad also regains his ODI place because of his Test exploits. He was the leading quick bowler in the recent series against Pakistan, and had also been instrumental to Sri Lanka’s victory at Headingley, where he took five second-innings wickets. Suranga Lakmal was unavailable for selection thanks to the ankle injury he sustained during the South Africa Tests.

A hamstring injury to opener Kusal Perera had forced him to return from the A team’s tour of England late last month and keeps him out of this series as well. He and Tharanga have been competing for the second opener’s position for the past 15 months, and Tharanga’s 92 and 45 in Colombo have been enough to see him return to ODIs. Middle order batsman Kithuruwan Vithanage has also been left out, but Ashan Priyanjan is in the squad.

Vithanage, Priyanjan, Chandimal, Thirimanne, Randiv and Thisara are all also set to play in the tour match against Pakistan on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka squad : Angelo Mathews (capt), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara (wk), Mahela Jayawardena, Dinesh Chandimal, Ashan Priyanjan, Lahiru Thirimanne, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Dhammika Prasad, Rangana Herath, Seekuge Prasanna, Suraj Randiv, Thisara Perera Agencies

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