Sports

Sri Lanka Women ring in the changes for SA series

Sri Lanka Women backed youth in naming their squad for the limited-overs series in South Africa.

Uncapped teenagers Tharika Sewwandi, the left-arm pacer, and bowler Umesha Thimashini were included in the 15-member squad announced on Tuesday, 22 January.

With Harshitha Samarawickrema returning to the set-up, and Kaveesha Dilhari and Imalka Mendis retained – all of them aged under 25 – there is a distinct youthful feel to the squad.

Sri Lanka, who finished fourth in their group in the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 in November in the West Indies, had one of the older squads in the tournament. Now, however, they’ve dropped several of their senior players. Yashoda Mendis, 32, Eshani Lokusuriyage, 34, Dilani Manodara, 36 and Inoshi Fernando, 31, all make way, while Sripali Weerakody, 33, misses out for personal reasons.

Bowlers Ama Kanchana and Sugandika Kumari, as well as youngster Rebeca Vandort have been omitted. Captain Chamari Athapaththu, and former captains Shashikala Siriwardena and the returning Inoka Ranaweera do, however, offer experience.

“Sripali has been left out due to personal reasons, the others however are now over 30 and they’ve been given several chances with national side,” SLC women’s cricket chief selector Rasanjali de Alwis told ESPNcricinfo.

“Now it’s time to plan for the next World Cup and give some of the younger players a chance. We hope the senior players will be able to offer their experience and guide the younger players going forward.”

Sri Lanka and South Africa play three Twenty20 Internationals starting 1 February, before as many one-day internationals as part of the ICC Women’s Championship.

Squad:

Chamari Athapaththu (c), Prasadani Weerakkody, Anushka Sanjeewani, Tharika Sewwandi, Hasini Perera, Imalka Mendis, Harshitha Samarawickrema, Shashikala Siriwardena, Nilakshi De Silva, Umesha Thimashini (subject to fitness), Kaveesha Dilhari, Achini Kulasooriya, Udeshika Probodani, Inoka Ranaweera, Oshadi Ranasinghe