Paranavithana to end First Class career
by Rex Clementine
In the era of David Warner, Virender Sehwag and Sanath Jayasuriya as Test match openers, Sri Lanka had an old fashioned opening batsman in Tharanga Paranavithana. His Strike Rate of 41 in Tests bears witness for that. The left-handed batsman who represented Sri Lanka in 32 Test matches will end his First Class career today, the last day of the three day encounter between Tamil Union and Negombo CC at Colts grounds.
Paranavithana made his First Class debut nearly 20 year ago and scored almost 15,000 runs. He also scored 40 hundreds in First Class cricket, two of which came in Test matches.
Paranavithana is a player to emerge from outstations with Kegalle being his hometown. Consistent scores in domestic cricket for Sinhalese Sports Club earned him a place in Sri Lanka ‘A’ and after a successful tour of South Africa in 2008 then ‘A’ team coach Chandika Hathurusingha earmarked him as a future Test match cricketer.
Paranavithana made his debut in Pakistan in 2009. He picked up a golden duck in the first innings and was run out in the second innings. Then during the second Test match in Lahore, he was severely wounded after terrorists attacked the Sri Lankan team bus.
Although he scored only two Test hundreds, those hundreds came in the space of eight days – both against India. The first hundred in Galle gave Sri Lanka a thrilling win. That was also Muttiah Muralitharan’s farewell Test match.
Interestingly, he had a shirt number that many players don’t want to associate in cricket – 111.
Paranavithana represented SSC earlier on in his career but towards the tail end shifted to Tamil Union. He retires at 38 having played over 220 First Class games.
An excellent slip fielder, Paranavithana was highly rated by former captain Kumar Sangakkara as an excellent team player. He also looked calm on the field and the pressures and demands of international cricket never had a toll on him.
Some of his team mates believe that post retirement he will take up politics.
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Chameera returns after surgery but no place for KJP
Fast bowler Dushmanta Chameera returns to the side after a seven month layoff having undergone ankle surgery as the selectors picked a balanced squad for the three-match series against Afghanistan starting later this week at Suriyawewa.
Although Chameera has been named in the squad, there was no place for top order batsman Kusal Janith Perera, who had returned to 20 side in New Zealand two months ago. KJP on that occasion had only been picked for T-20s and there are question marks about his fitness for the 50 over format.
Fans will be hoping that by the time the World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe begin next month, KJP will be cleared to feature in the 50 over format as well. One of the most destructive batters in the side, KJP has been in and out of the team due to injuries.
Opening batsman Dimuth Karunaratne also makes a comeback to the ODI outfit having been axed from the 50 over format two years ago. Sri Lanka’s problems of not being able to bat out 50 overs in recent times is seen as the reason for Dimuth’s return to the side.
Uncapped leg-spinner Dushan Hemantha has also been named in the squad but now that Wanindu Hasaranga has recovered from an injury, he’s expected to play ahead of the 29-year-old.
There’s no place for left-arm quick Dilshan Madushanka either although there was lot of excitement when he first made an impact during last year’s Asia Cup. Young all-rounder Dunith Wellalage has also been overlooked for the three-match series.
The selectors are not expected to do too many changes from the 16-member squad chosen for the Afghanistan series for the World Cup qualifiers.
The first ODI gets underway Friday (2nd June) followed by games on June 4th and 7th. The series was drafted in to give the Sri Lankan team some competitive games ahead of the World Cup qualifiers.
Sri Lanka Squad:
Dasun Shanaka (Captain), Kusal Mendis (Vice-Captain), Pathum Nissanka, Dimuth Karunaratne, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Maheesh Theekshana, Dushan Hemantha, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Matheesha Pathirana, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha
Hashmatullah Shahidi (Captain), Rahmat Shah (Vice-Captain), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Ibrahim Zadran, Riaz Hassan, Najibullah Zadran, Mohammad Nabi, Ikram Alikhail (wk), Azmatullah Omarzai, Rashid Khan, Mujib ur Rahman, Noor Ahmad, Abdul Rahman, Fazal Haq Farooqi, Farid Ahmad Malik.
Yupun out of competitions for few weeks due to injury
by Reemus Fernando
Sprinter Yupun Abeykoon who suffered an injury during last week’s 100 metres final of the Savona International Meet will ‘stay away from competitions for few weeks.’
“After the MRI test which I took after my race in Savona, it is unfortunate that I have to inform you all that due to a minor hamstring injury I have to stay away from competitions for a few weeks due to medical advice given by experts,” said the Italy based sprinter in a statement yesterday.
Abeykoon was placed second behind Reece Prescod of Britain in the final of the Savona International Meet last week. The national record holder returned a wind-assisted 10.01 seconds (+2.7) performance to open his season in the 100metres. However, despite placing second in the final, he was seen struggling during the last few metres of the race. The injury means he must skip one of the major 100 metres events this week.
The first South Asian Sprinter to break the ten seconds barrier in the men’s 100 metres, Abeykoon was expected to compete against a star-studded lineup at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Florence later this week.
The world-class lineup includes world champion Fred Kerley and Kenyan world leader in the 100 metres this season, Ferdinand Omanyala.
“I have already started my rehab process with my physio, doctors and the rest of the staff and I am looking forward to coming back stronger than I was in the upcoming competitions,” he further stated.
The highest-ranked Sri Lankan male athlete, Abeykoon is the prime medal hopeful at this year’s Asian Games. Sri Lanka Athletics is relying heavily on Abeykoon to end the country’s medal drought in track and field at the quadrennial event.
He is also the only male athlete to be in the required range in the world rankings to be eligible for selection for this year’s World Championships.
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