Kusal Mendis rested form T20 series to focus on longer formats

 . Last updated on April 3, 2017, 12:30 PM
Kusal Mendis rested form T20 series to focus on longer formats
Kusal Mendis has been a top striker in Test and ODI for Sri Lanka.


Sri Lanka has made several considerable changes in the wake of its campaign against Bangladesh. In the previous ODI series, the team has learned a lot about their own shortcomings. In the upcoming T20, Sri Lanka is trying to get the best combination of players according to the requirement of the format as well as the opponent. In the new squad, Kusal Mendis is rested from the squad for the two T20 matches. To replace the player, Shehan Jayasuriya will be inducted into the team as the spin-bowling option. Other players, who are called up for the series are Thisara Perara and Danushka Gunathilaka. The latter is back to the team recovering from an injury.

The selectors are unsure about Kusal Perera, who was injured on his thigh. The player could not participate in the ODIs and he is now not sure for the upcoming T20 as well. Now the pre-match fitness test will determine his participation. Sandun Weerakkody is however ready to play if in case Perera cannot make it. Weerakkody debuted in the previous series against South Africa. Skipper Angelo Matthews is absent from the squad since the South Africa tour. In his absence, Upul Tharanga will play as the stand-in captain of the team.

The reason Mendis is rested for the format is his lack of strike in the format. In T20, Mendis averaged a strike rate of only 9.25 playing eight innings so far. Sri Lanka selector, former batsman Sanath Jayasuriya wants him to focus on ODI, which has been his forte. The batsman has been consistent in ODI. In the recently concluded series with Bangladesh, he was awarded Player of the Series. Jayasuriya said that Mendis had a very good test and ODI series against Bangladesh and they don’t want the player to alter his game. On the other hand, Thisara has been playing strong recently, striking two half centuries lately.

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