Written by Staff Writer
23 Jul, 2014 | 12:36 pm
Dinesh Chandimal has been withdrawn from the Sri Lanka squad and replaced with uncapped wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella, who was flown in from England ahead of the second Test against South Africa.
Dickwella was on Sri Lanka A’s ongoing tour of England, but will now be available for the SSC Test, while Chandimal will be sent to replace him in the A side.
Dickwella did not train with the team on on July 22, having just arrived from London, but joined the team for practice on the eve of the July 23 match.
Chandimal did train with Sri Lanka on July 22 before the selectors revealed he would be going back to England, after having been on the senior team’s tour there in May and June.
Chandimal has kept wicket in the last two Tests, after Prasanna Jayawardene sustained a broken finger, but while his keeping has been tidy, he has not produced consistent runs. He hit 45 off 55 balls in the first innings at Headingley, but has been out hooking in single figures in each of his three innings since. He has appeared shaky against the bouncer since Junaid Khan had him out hooking twice in the Test series in the UAE, in January.
His lack of form in the limited-overs formats will also have contributed to the selectors’ decision. Chandimal dropped himself from the side during Sri Lanka’s World T20 campaign, and was also left out of the squad for the recent one-dayers against South Africa.
Dickwella, 21, has been a rising star in domestic cricket, and had progressed directly to Premier League competition from school cricket.
An attacking top-order batsman for Nondescripts Cricket Club, Dickwella has three first-class centuries and five fifties at an average of 34.45 in 35 innings. He had also been Sri Lanka’s schoolboy cricketer of the year in 2012, when he led Trinity College to the national championship.
Dickwella had not impressed for the A team against England Lions in February and March, but did return to form in Sri Lanka’s Premier League competition. He had put on a 170-run opening stand alongside Upul Tharanga in the final of that tournament, contributing 87 from 99 balls to that partnership.
Kaushal Silva is also a wicketkeeper, but the selectors are wary of giving him the gloves in Tests, because keeping may leave him fatigued when he opens the batting. Kumar Sangakkara can also keep, but he has not had the gloves regularly since 2006 for similar reasons.
Kithuruwan Vithanage, who is already in the squad, offers Sri Lanka another batting option if they decide to make further changes to the top seven . In addition to positive middle-order batting, Vithanage also offers part-time legspin, which may count in his favour if the SSC pitch is expected to take turn.
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