Asela Gunaratne might join the Test squad

SLC President Sumathipala has expressed his hope that he might be joining the team as a 16th player by 20th November.

Asela Gunaratne
Asela Gunaratne smiles during the second day of the second cricket Test match between Sri Lanka and hosts Zimbabwe. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Anuraag Peesara

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A huge boost might be on the way for the Lankan side ahead of the Test series against India as Asela Gunaratne is on the verge of a comeback. The all-rounder made a significant impact in the recent series against Pakistan and played a couple of match-winning knocks. Yet, he suffered a horrendous thumb injury and was ousted from the squad.

SLC President Sumathipala has expressed his hope that he might be joining the team as a 16th player by 20th November. He was also asked to participate in the Emerging Trophy Tournament conducted by the board to ensure he’s not getting back into the National side without much match practice.

“We have asked him to play at least two matches in the current Emerging Trophy Tournament to gain match fitness as we are hoping to send him to India to join the team as the 16th player,” said SLC President Thilanga Sumathipala.

Selectors justify Kaushal Mendis’ exclusion

Sri Lankan legend Mahela Jayawardene and Sumathipala expressed their dissent on the selectors for excluding few big names. Kaushal Silva and Kusal Mendis, who were coping with few injuries, received a cold shoulder from the selection committee chief Graeme Labrooy. Sumathipala suggested both these players should’ve been considered.

“We had an hour-long discussion with the selectors as we thought, both these cricketers should have been considered for the tour. At the end, their decision prevailed. But we strongly feel both of them should have made into the team and even coach supported our view,” Sumathipala said.

Labrooy though came up with a fitting reply, suggesting he didn’t want to drop him after representing his country without full fitness and getting low scores. This, his confidence will get destroyed and it’d be of no use to the side’s cause.

“We don’t want a situation where he plays two more innings, gets two low scores and then drop him and destroy his confidence further. He has got age on his side and we want him to go on to become one of the greats of the game. We want him to play for another ten years,” Labrooy had said.