Malinga and Lakmal rested for T20Is

Lasith Malinga has been left out of the 15-man squad for the upcoming three-match Twenty20 International series against India, Sri Lanka Cricket announced on Friday.

Speaking to reporters, the selectors insisted that the former T20I captain had been rested and not dropped, along with Suranga Lakmal, Sri Lanka’s best fast bowler on the tour of India so far.

The 34-year-old Malinga has struggled for form and fitness with his pace dropping ever since he made a comeback into the national setup earlier this year after a knee injury had forced him out of the game for almost a year.

He was earlier not considered for the ODIs in India as well despite making himself available.

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Lahiru Thirimanne and Dhananjaya de Silva were left out of the 16-man squad currently in India for the ODI leg of the series, while Dasun Shanaka and Vishwa Fernando were brought into the squad. Only six members of the squad that took on Pakistan in Abu Dhabi and Lahore in Sri Lanka’s last T20I engagements, which Pakistan won 3-0, were retained.

Thisara Perera, who had a good start to his ODI captaincy career with a thumping win over India in the first game at Dharamsala, will continue to lead the side in the shortest format. Sri Lanka will further be bolstered by the inclusion of Angelo Mathews. Akila Dananjaya will lead the spin attack, along with Sachith Pathirana and Chaturanga de Silva, the left-arm spinners.

On the batting front, Kusal Perera, who has been out of international cricket since injuring his hamstring during the ICC Champions Trophy in June this year, returns to the side.

The first of the three T20Is will take place in Cuttack on December 20, while the second and third encounters will be staged in Indore and Mumbai on December 22 and 24 respectively.

Squad: Thisara Perera (capt), Upul Tharanga, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Danushka Gunathilaka, Niroshan Dickwella (wk), Asela Gunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Dasun Shanaka, Chaturanga de Silva, Sachith Pathirana, Akila Dananjaya, Dushmantha Chameera, Nuwan Pradeep, Vishwa Fernando.