Asela Gunaratne will not join the Sri Lanka squad for the remaining two Tests of the ongoing three-match series against India despite fully recovering from the thumb injury. Gunaratne has not played an international game since fracturing his left thumb in July during the first Test against India in Galle when he attempted a diving catch at slips and was subsequently ruled out of the entire series. He also missed the full-fledged series against Pakistan.
However, there were speculations that he would join the team for the Test series in India after fully recovering. But lack of match practise has dashed his hopes.
The news was confirmed by Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors Graeme Labrooy who made it clear that the selectors are not keen to rush the allrounder. However, Labrooy also confirmed that Gunaratne would be included in the squad for the three-match One-Day International series that would be played after the Tests.
“He has played two games now since the injury,” Labrooy told Cricbuzz. “He bowled, batted and fielded and has come good. We discussed about him, but feel this is not the moment to bring him back, but he will be certainly back for the ODIs,” he added.
So far, Gunaratne has played two competitive games after recovering. The right-handed batsman, who plays for Sri Lanka Army featured in an inter-regiment game last week and recently played competitive cricket for Army SC this week.
Labrooy further said that there was no point in sending Gunaratne to India to warm the bench before insisting that the selectors would take the final call on the allrounder as per the requirement of the team management.
“There’s no point of sending him to India and making him to sit on the bench. We are better off getting him to play some competitive games. We will also see what’s the requirement of team management, leave it to them and then make a call,” he said.
Gunaratne has been one of Sri Lanka’s most consistent players since making his international debut last year. Earlier this month, he had bagged four trophies at Sri Lanka Cricket’s Annual Cricket Awards.
He was named the best batsman in T20Is as well as the best allrounder in both T20Is and ODIs. He had also claimed the country’s most promising cricketer award.
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