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Upul Tharanga pulls out of Lahore T20I

Tharanga is now not eligible to be picked for the 3-match T20I series.

Upul Tharanga of Sri Lanka
Upul Tharanga of Sri Lanka. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

The Sri Lankan limited-overs skipper Upul Tharanga has pulled himself out of the third and final T20I that will be played in Lahore later this month. 40 players including the players playing the ongoing ODI series had requested the board in their letter to consider changing the venue for the last game. But Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) chief Thilanga Sumathipala cleared the air by mentioning that only the players willing to travel Pakistan would be picked for the series and didn’t change the venue.

However, that makes Tharanga ineligible be a part of the team as SLC had made it clear they want to field the same squad for all the three matches. It was reported earlier today that the coach of Pakistan Mickey Arthur had spoken to the support staff of the visiting team and they had agreed to travel to Lahore for the one-off game. Also, some of the players had softened their stance and seemed to be ready to go to Pakistan.

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Kusal Perera might lead T20I squad

According to Cricbuzz, Kusal Perera has emerged as the frontrunner to lead the T20I squad for the series in the absence of Tharanga. Perera is in the last stage of a recovery process having sustained a hamstring injury in June. He is scheduled to go through an MRI scan and if he is cleared, will captain the side. Also, SLC has been negotiating with the players to travel for the tour. So far only Thisara Perera, who was in Lahore for a week during the World XI series and the two other players have agreed.

Also, Dilshan Munaweera, Isuru Udana and Ashan Priyanjan who play the shortest format regularly have also given their nod ahead for an all-important clash in Lahore which makes them an automatic pick for the series. Lasith Malinga is not part of the ODI squad, but the chairman of selectors Graeme Labrooy had earlier told that he was looking to bring Malinga back for the T20 leg. However, the experienced bowler has also looked reluctant to travel to Pakistan.

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