Sri Lanka pick Theekshana for T20 World Cup

Published September 13, 2021
Maheesh Theekshana appeals during a match between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo on September 10. — AFP
Maheesh Theekshana appeals during a match between Sri Lanka and South Africa in Colombo on September 10. — AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Sunday called up 21-year-old mystery spinner Maheesh Theekshana to their squad for the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman in October-November.

Theekshana, who took four wickets on his One-day International debut against South Africa last week, is joined by left-arm spinner Praveen Jayawickrama, the only uncapped player in the squad, who took 11 wickets on his test debut against Bangladesh earlier this year.

Wanindu Hasaranga and Dhananjaya de Silva complete the spin bowling contingent, with Akila Dananjaya and leg-spinner Pulina Tharanga among the reserves.

Veteran seamer Nuwan Pradeep has been included as part of a pace attack that includes Dushmantha Chameera and all-rounders Chamika Karunaratne and Lahiru Madushanka. There were no major omissions apart from Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis and Danushka Gunathilaka, who are serving year-long bans for breaking Covid-19 protocols on their tour of England in July.

Kusal Perera returns from injury to keep out Minod Bhanuka, who had been keeping wickets in Perera’s absence.

Sri Lanka, led by Dasun Shanaka, are in Group ‘A’ and begin their World Cup campaign against Namibia in Abu Dhabi on Oct 18. Ireland and the Netherlands are the other teams in the group.

Meanwhile, a top Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) official said they were undecided on whether to play against Afghanistan over the Taliban’s reported ban on women playing sport.

“We have now finalised the squad, but we are yet to take a decision regarding Afghanistan,” SLC secretary Mohan de Silva said. “We are aware of reports that some [teams] may boycott playing Afghanistan over the Taliban’s position on women, but we are yet to take a decision on that,” de Silva said.

Squad: Dasun Shanaka (captain), Dhananjaya de Silva, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kamindu Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lahiru Madushanka, Maheesh Theekshana.

Travelling reserves: Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Pulina Tharanga.

Published in Dawn, September 13th, 2021

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