Malinga back to lead Sri Lanka in Australia T20s

Updated October 18, 2019

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Sri Lanka's captain Lasith Malinga delivers the ball during the third and final international Twenty20 cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on September 6, 2019. — AFP
Sri Lanka's captain Lasith Malinga delivers the ball during the third and final international Twenty20 cricket match between Sri Lanka and New Zealand at the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium in Kandy on September 6, 2019. — AFP

COLOMBO: Veteran paceman Lasith Malinga will return to lead Sri Lanka in a three-match Twenty20 cricket series against Australia but many players from the young team that performed well on the tour of Pakistan have retained their places.

Apart from Malinga, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis and Niroshan Dickwella were the only senior players included in a 16-man squad announced on Thursday.

Sri Lanka sent a second-string team to Pakistan to play ODI and Twenty20 series after several withdrawals over security concerns. Sri Lanka lost the ODI series 2-0 but stunned top-ranked Pakistan with a 3-0 series sweep in the T20s without Malinga, who has already retired from ODIs.

It was the first long tour to Pakistan by a Sri Lankan national team since the 2009 attack on the Sri Lanka team bus that killed eight people and injured some players.

International teams have avoided playing cricket in Pakistan for the past decade except for a few short series involving Zimbabwe, a World XI and Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka gave players a choice over whether to tour Pakistan, and a majority of regular players opted out.

Pakistan provided what it called presidential-level security for the touring Sri Lanka team.

The opening match will be at the Adelaide Oval on Oct 27 with the second at Gabba in Brisbane on Oct 30 and the final game at the MCG in Melbourne on Nov 1.

Squad: Lasith Malinga (captain), Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Danushka Gunathilaka, Avishka Fernando, Niroshan Dickwella, Dasun Shanaka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Oshada Fernando, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lakshan Sandakan, Nuwan Pradeep, Lahiru Kumara, Isuru Udana and Kasun Rajitha.

Published in Dawn, October 18th, 2019