Shashikala to lead Sri Lanka in Asia Cup

Sri Lanka suffered a blow to their Women’s T20 Asia Cup campaign with Chamari Athapaththu, originally slated to lead the side, ruled out due to dengue.

Ama Kanchana, the bowling all-rounder, was also forced to pull out of the event because of the same reason, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board (SLC) announced on Wednesday 30 May.

Shashikala Siriwardena, who had relinquished captaincy in 2016, will now be in charge of the 15-member squad for the tournament in Malaysia from June 3 to 10. Hasini Perera will continue as vice-captain.

Harshitha Madavi, the 19-year-old all-rounder, and Inoka Ranaweera, former ODI captain, were named as replacements for Athapaththu and Kanchana.

“It is unfortunate we will be without Chamari who has been our key playmaker batsman,” said Siriwardane. “However, we will strive to compensate for their losses and stage a good fight with quite a balanced and young side. Our strong point is our bowling.”

Sri Lanka have made five changes to the squad that lost the three-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan 2-1 at home. Inoshi Priyadharshani, the off-spinner, makes a return to the T20I side for the first time since 2014, as does Yasoda Mendis, the opener, who last featured in the T20I series in the West Indies in 2017.

The six-team tournament features India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand Sri Lanka and Malaysia, the hosts. With the Women’s World T20 due to be held in the Caribbean later this year, the tournament provides teams an excellent opportunity to get some practice ahead of the marquee event.

Sri Lanka will play their first game against Bangladesh on 3 June. The teams will play each other once in the round-robin format before the top two sides will face off in the final at the Kinrara Oval in Kuala Lumpur on 10 June. India are currently the holders of the title having defeated Pakistan back in 2016.

Squad: Shashikala Siriwardena (c), Hasini Perera, Yasoda Mendis, Anushka Sanjeewani, Rebeca Vandort, Nilakshi de Silva, Udeshika Prabodhani, Sugandika Kumari, Oshadi Ranasinghe, Nipuni Hansika, Malsha Shehani, Achini Kulasooriya, Harshitha Madavi, Inoshi Priyadharshani, Inoka Ranaweera.