Sri Lankan selectors have made a shocking announcement as they have named the new ODI captain who will lead the side in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Dimuth Karunaratne has been selected to captain Sri Lanka in the mega event to be hosted by England and Wales that starts next month.
Earlier, there were speculations that Lasith Malinga will be retained as the captain. The pacer had led the side in ODIs on the tour of South Africa. However, Sri Lanka lost the series 5-0. Despite that, Malinga was the frontrunner to grab the captaincy’s slot.
His participation in the Indian Premier League was uncertain. Initially, he didn’t join Mumbai Indians to play domestic cricket. Then, he made his way to India to join the IPL franchise. But he left for his country to take part in the domestic 50-over competition. However, the 35-year-old once again came back to the Indian T20 league after missing a couple of games.
Dimuth Karunaratne: A surprise pick
Dimuth Karunaratne was preferred over Malinga for captaincy’s role. What makes the selection surprising is that the left-hander hasn’t played a single ODI since 2015.
“Karunaratne’s appointment was ratified by the Minister of Telecommunications, Foreign Employment and Sports Honorable Harin Fernando,” Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed through a media release.
The 30-year-old has played just 17 ODIs for Sri Lanka. He has scored 190 runs at an average of 15.83. The batsman has done well in the longest format of the game though. He had led his national side in the historic 2-0 clean sweep in the Test series in South Africa. But he is yet to prove his credentials in the 50-over format.
In the recent past, Sri Lanka has seen multiple captains in ODI cricket. Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga have all captained the team in the last 2 years. The selectors are yet to announce the World Cup squad but Karunaratne’s role has been confirmed.