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Dimuth Karunaratne

Dimuth Karunaratne in contention for Sri Lanka World Cup captaincy

Dimuth Karunaratne, who last played ODI cricket at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2015, is now in contention to lead Sri Lanka at this year’s edition.

Karunaratne is understood to have been asked to remain in Sri Lanka through April to play the provincial one-day tournament, which will ascertain his credentials to play in the one-day side.

"The selectors haven't confirmed anything, but they've told me to keep in mind there's a possibility I could become one-day captain," Karunaratne told ESPNcricinfo. "They've asked me to stay back for the provincial tournament. If I get picked for the World Cup squad, there will be camps and training after that as well.”

Angelo Mathews is understood to be a popular choice among the players for the captaincy
Angelo Mathews is understood to be a popular choice among the players for the captaincy

Should he be named captain, Karunaratne’s appointment would be a highly left-field choice. Karunaratne has been a regular for Sri Lanka in Test cricket, where he opens – and also captained in South Africa, where regular captain Dinesh Chandimal was dropped.

But he has been used very sporadically in ODIs, where he has played just 17 matches since making his debut in 2011 and has a strike-rate of 68.84 – well below the norm in the present-day game.

Karunaratne, however, smashed 109 off 115 balls for Sinhalese Sports Club in the semi-final of the Premier Limited Over tournament. He is also understood to have impressed the selectors with his captaincy in the South Africa Tests, where Sri Lanka famously swept the home team 2-0 for their first-ever series win in the country.

Following the success, Ashantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors told Sunday Times in an interview that the committee “wants to see what Dimuth did for the Test team, with the ODI team".

Karunaratne, however, is only one of the candidates for the World Cup captaincy. Lasith Malinga is still in the race to keep his job, while de Mel said that former captain Angelo Mathews is also in the mix, being a popular choice among his team-mates.

Afghanistan fans celebrate a boundary during the 2019 Cricket World Cup warm up match between England and Afghanistan at The Oval in London on May 27, 2019.


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