IND vs SL 2022 – Maheesh Theekshana, Kusal Mendis ruled out of T20I series
Test squad members Dickwella and de Silva added to T20I squad for remaining games
Spinner Maheesh Theekshana and Kusal Mendis have been ruled out of the ongoing T20I series against India with hamstring issues, Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed on Friday.
Seam bowler Shiran Fernando, who is in the squad and is yet to make his international debut, has been ruled out of the T20Is too, with a glute injury.
There is one piece of better news for Sri Lanka, however. Seamer Binura Fernando, who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Australia, has been medically cleared to begin regular training, and should be available for selection for the two T20Is to be played in Dharamsala.
It had appeared unlikely Mendis would’ve been risked in the T20Is with a Test series beginning on March 4 in Mohali. Mendis has not played Tests since January last year, when he was dismissed for four consecutive ducks, but has been in better form since returning to competitive cricket from a six-month ban for breaking Covid protocols. In fact, he was the player of the match in the most recent international he played – the fifth T20I in Australia.
Theekshana’s absence is a substantial blow to the T20I side, however, with Wanindu Hasaranga also ruled out having tested positive for Covid. Theekshana had been one of Sri Lanka’s go-to powerplay bowlers over the past six months.
Sri Lanka lost the opening encounter while the second and third T20Is are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday with both games to be played in Dharamsala.
Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @afidelf