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Sri Lanka recall Malinga for Champions Trophy

Malinga last played an ODI in November 2015.
Malinga last played an ODI in November 2015. © Getty
Lasith Malinga, the Sri Lankan fast bowler, has been recalled to the One-Day International squad for the Champions Trophy. The selectors have included the veteran after he made a successful return from a knee injury that kept him out of action for a prolonged period in 2016. He made a comeback to the national squad on their tour of Australia earlier this year and is now playing in the Indian Premier League for Mumbai Indians. The 33-year-old last played in the 50-over format in November 2015 against West Indies at home. In five T20Is since his return, Malinga has picked up eleven wickets.
"Lasith has got the medical clearance now. That allows him to bowl ten overs. He is cleared to play ODI cricket. We are very excited that he is back playing ODI cricket. We know what an impact player he is in any form of the game and we are looking forward to him leading our pace attack again," Thilanga Sumathipala, the SLC President, said on Monday (April 24).
"He is playing the IPL, which is good as that's a fine cricketing environment. We are monitoring his progress and at the moment he is bowling eight overs. More than anyone, Malinga himself is keen to play the Champions Trophy. The plan is for him to bowl ten overs before the team leaves for England."
Chamara Kapugedera also makes a comeback to the side after a decent run in domestic cricket. The 30-year-old last played an ODI in January last year. The selections were done based on the ongoing Inter-Provincial Tournament.
"This was the toughest and longest selection meeting that I was involved in. This is a well balanced side and I am glad that we are going to England well in advance to acclimatize to the conditions," Sanath Jayasuriya, the chairman of selectors, said.
After Sri Lanka lost the first ODI against Bangladesh earlier this month, stand-in captain Upul Tharanga had said that the absence of an off-spinner hurt his team with Bangladesh having quite a few left-handers. However, Jayasuriya pointed out that the conditions forced them to pick just two spinners.
"We assessed the conditions and the oppositions when selecting the squad. We can't take more than two spinners to England. There will be not much of help for spinners in June. We feel we have the right combination as we have included Lakshan Sandakan (left-arm wrist-spin) and Seekkuge Prasanna (leg-spin). Asela Gunaratne can bowl off-spin if required," Jayasuriya remarked.
Off-spinner Dilruwan Perera has been put on stand-by and will travel with the team alongside Dhanushka Gunathilaka as additional players.
Captain Angelo Mathews, who missed the entire series against Bangladesh due to injury, was flown to Colombo from India, where he was on IPL duty, for the selection meeting.
"This is a well balanced side. I am glad the preparation ahead of the tournament is going to be solid as well. Spending 12 days in England prior to the tournament is vital. We did the same thing in 2014 and went onto win the Test series against England," Mathews said.
Squad: Angelo Mathews (C), Upul Tharanga (VC), Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Chamara Kapugedara, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, Lasith Malinga, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Nuwan Kulasekara, Thisara Perara, Lakshan Sandakan, Seekkuge Prasanna



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