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Dimuth Karunaratne to lead Sri Lanka in World Cup; squad yet to be announced

There were also reports of the internal squabble in the team and Karunaratne’s appointment might have come as a middle path to pacify sentiments.

Dimuth Karunaratne
Dimuth Karunaratne. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

Sri Lankan cricket never falls short of springing surprises nowadays. On Wednesday, the country’s national selectors appointed batsman Dimuth Karunaratne as the captain of the ODI side which means he will be leading the former world champions in the upcoming World Cup in England starting May 30. Sri Lanka will be playing their first game at the WC against New Zealand in Cardiff on June 1.

The Island team has had a terrible run in the ODIs over the past several months and were beaten 3-0 by New Zealand and 5-0 by South Africa in their last two series, respectively. Veteran bowler Lasith Malinga was their captain in the latest series but now it seems the selectors have changed their preference for the top job. The 1996 champions though haven’t announced their squad for the showpiece event.

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Karunaratne hasn’t played in an ODI since WC 2015

“Karunaratne’s appointment was ratified by the Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando,” Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed through a media release, Cricbuzz reported. Karunaratne has played only 17 ODIs for Sri Lanka and the last time he played in a 50-over match was during the last World Cup in 2015. He has just 190 runs in the format at an average of less than 16 but his name still cropped up after he led the Lankans to a historic 2-0 win over the Proteas in an away Test series recently.

Sri Lanka, who made the finals of the 2007 and 2011 editions but lost in the title clash to Australia and India, respectively, tried the likes of Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal and Thisara Perera besides Malinga as captains of their ODI sides over the past few years but with none really making an impact, the selectors have banked on an unconventional choice to match Arjuna Ranatunga’s feat.

There were also reports of the internal squabble in the team and Karunaratne’s appointment might have come as a middle path to pacify sentiments.

The soon-to-turn-31 was recently arrested for drunk driving following an accident and released later on personal bail. The event though did not affect his appointment as the ODI captain at the end.

Get the latest Cricket News and updates from World Cup 2019, Match Predictions, Fantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.

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