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News

Uncapped Dunith Wellalage in Sri Lanka's T20 World Cup squad

Wanindu Hasaranga has been named captain after missing the IPL to get fit in time for the World Cup

Wanindu Hasaranga celebrates the wicket of Tony Munyonga, Sri Lanka vs Zimbabwe, 3rd men's T20I, Colombo, January 18, 2024

Wanindu Hasaranga is recovering from a heel injury  •  AFP/Getty Images

Left-arm spinning allrounder Dunith Wellalage has made Sri Lanka's squad for the 2024 T20 World Cup despite never having played a T20 international. Top-order batter Kamindu Mendis, and round-arm seamer Nuwan Thushara are also in the 15.
From the older cohort, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya de Silva, and Dasun Shanaka also find places in the squad.
The team is led by Wanindu Hasaranga, who missed the IPL with a long-standing heel injury, largely so he would be fit for the World Cup. He has made his return to competitive cricket in the ongoing practice matches in Sri Lanka, where he has batted in the first two matches but not bowled.
Wellalage has been chosen more for his skillset, rather than performances in T20s, or form. In addition to bowling good left-arm spin, he's also capable of hitting boundaries from lower down the order, and is also an excellent fielder. The selectors are understood to have thought of him as a handy utility player in a World Cup campaign. Wellalage has had some success in international cricket, most memorably in an Asia Cup ODI match against India in 2023, when he took five wickets.
Missing out on selection are players like opening batter Avishka Fernando, left-arm seamer Binura Fernando, and batter Kusal Perera. Avishka had modest performances on the tour of Bangladesh in March, Kusal Perera had not impressed selectors after a long injury layoff, and Binura has been outperformed by Thushara, who took 5 for 20 including a hat-trick in his last international outing.
The batting order is somewhat predictable: Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Charith Asalanka and Angelo Mathews are likely to form the top six. On the spin front, they have Maheesh Theekshana and captain Hasaranga as likely first-choice players, with Hasaranga poised to go up the order when required.
There is serious competition for fast-bowling places, however, with Dushmantha Chameera the likeliest starter, but with Thushara, Matheesha Pathirana, and Dilshan Madushanka providing tough competition.
Sri Lanka are in group D at the T20 World Cup along with Bangladesh, Nepal, Netherlands and South Africa. They play their first game of the tournament against South Africa on June 3 in New York, before travelling to Dallas to play Bangladesh on June 8. Their last two group games are against Nepal and Netherlands, in Florida on June 12 and St Lucia on June 17.

Sri Lanka squad for 2024 T20 World Cup

Wanindu Hasaranga (capt), Charith Asalanka (vc), Kusal Mendis, Pathum Nissanka, Kamindu Mendis, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dasun Shanaka, Dhananjaya de Silva, Maheesh Theekshana, Dunith Wellalage, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwan Thushara, Dilshan Madushanka
Travelling reserves: Asitha Fernando, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Janith Liyanage

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