Kithuruwan Vithanage, Angelo Perera, Shehan Jayasuriya, Amila Aponso and Avishka Fernando were the five cricketers with international experience in Sri Lanka’s squad for the Emerging Teams Cup, which will be played in Chittagong from March 27 to April 3.
With the inclusion of the five, the Sri Lankans have a combined experience of ten Tests (all played by Vithanage), 22 One-Day Internationals and 16 Twenty20 Internationals.
Vithanage last played for Sri Lanka in January 2016, and later that year got involved in public brawl, which led to Sri Lanka Cricket suspending him for a year. He was a part of Sri Lanka A when they beat England Lions 3-2 in a 50-overs series at home recently.
The squad also included Ron Chandragupta, the opener who made 48 and 91 for Sri Lanka Board President’s XI against the Lions in a three-day game in front of Sanath Jayasuriya, the head of the senior selection committee. Anuk Fernando, the left-arm seamer who was the highest wicket-taker in the 2014 Under-19 World Cup, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka’s best batsman in that competition, and Charith Asalanka, the highly popular captain in the 2016 edition, were also named in the team, as was Lasith Embuldeniya, the left-arm spinner who took more than 100 wickets in schools cricket in 2015-16.
Sri Lanka start their campaign in Group A with a clash against India on the first day of the tournament, while the final, on April 3, will be the only televised game in the competition.
While the tournament, organised by Asian Cricket Council, is an Under-23 event, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are allowed to field four senior players, and Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates, Nepal and Malaysia have the option of fielding their full-strength national teams.
Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have made use of the privilege, while India are led by B Aparajith and consist of players who are not a part of the Indian Premier League, which starts onApril 5.
Apart from Vithanage, Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan), Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain and Abul Hasan (Bangladesh) are the other Test cricketers in the competition. Gulbadin Naib (Afghanistan), Chris Carter, Anshuman Rath, Babar Hayat and Nizakat Khan (Hong Kong), and Gyanendra Malla and Sandeep Lamichhane (Nepal) are some of the prominent names from the associate teams who will be in the mix.
Sri Lanka: Asitha Fernando, Amila Aponso, Ron Chandraguptha, Avishka Fernando, Anuk Fernando, Chamika Karunarathne, Angelo Perera, Lasith Embuldeniya, Wannidu de Silva, Lahiru Samarkoon, Charith Asalanka, Shehan Jayasuriya, Kithruwan Vithanage, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Leo Francisco.
Afghanistan: Usman Ghani, Younas Ahmadzai, Munir Ahmed, Sharafudin Ashraf, Fazal Niazai, Ihsan Janat, Sami Shinwari, Najib Zadran, Naveen Ul Haq, Farid Ahmed, Shahid Kamal, Shafiqullah Shafaq, Gulbadin Naib, Aftan Alam, Zia Akbar.
Nepal: Gyanendra Malla (capt), Sharad Vesawkar (vice-capt), Binod Bhandari, Sagar Pun, Arif Sheikh, Mahaboob Alam, Dipendra Singh Airee, Sandeep Lamichhane, Asif Sheikh, Avinash Karn, Sunil Dhamala, Bhuwan Karki, Sushan Bhari, Dipesh Shrestha, Dilip Nath.
Hong Kong: Chris Carter, Anshuman Rath, Babar Hayat, Nizakat Khan, Waqas Khan, Shahid Wasif, Ehsan Khan, Ehsan Nawaz, Waqas Barkat, Kyle Christie, Tanveer Ahmed, Cameron McAulsen, Jhatha Subraymanyan, Wajid Shah, Awais Mohammad.
Malaysia: Ahmad Faiz Mohammad Noor, Virandeep Singh Jagjit Singh, Mohamad Fikri Makram Wan Mohammad Rosdi, Aminuddin Ramly, Derek Michael Duraisingam, Mohammad Shafiq, Mohammad Sharif, Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahim, Sivanantha Gopal Krishnan, Mohammad Suharril Fetri Shuib, Syed Aziz Syed Mubarak, Muhammad Wafiq Irfan Zarbani, Pavandeep Singh, Jagjit Singh, Abdul Rashid Ahad, Muhammad Hafiz Mohd Khair, Mohamad Norwira Zazmie Abdul Halim.