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Mathews, Karunaratne Could Make Sri Lanka Return: Coach Mickey Arthur

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur said Thursday that stars Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne could make a return to the squad, despite their axing as players wrangle with the national board over wages

AFP News
By AFP News May 27, 2021 • 16:07 PM

Sri Lanka coach Mickey Arthur said Thursday that stars Angelo Mathews and Dimuth Karunaratne could make a return to the squad, despite their axing as players wrangle with the national board over wages.

Sri Lanka left Mathews, Karunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal, and senior players behind for their three one-day internationals in Bangladesh.

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Players are refusing to sign new contracts that would cut fees for some by 40 percent.

Changes were also ordered after Sri Lanka lost a one-day series in West Indies 3-0 in March. Kusal Perera has been made captain for this series while the selectors recalled Kusal Mendis and made him vice-captain.

"I think we just took the team in a direction. There's certainly no door closed on any of them," Arthur said in Dhaka.

"Angelo and Chandi are fantastic cricketers who are very much part of our Test unit at the moment."

Arthur said Sri Lanka had to start looking at players for the 2023 World Cup.

"That's the balancing act when you are transitioning a team, how you get it right. We will keep tweaking that until you do it properly," he said.

Arthur said Sri Lanka needed a tougher middle order and named Kushal Perera, Kusal Mendis, wicketkeeper-batsman Niroshan Dickwella and Dhananjaya de Silva as the names the team would be "banking on".

In Friday's final match they will be battling to avoid a first whitewash defeat to Bangladesh.

"We battled to come to terms with the spinners, which is very surprising for me," said Arthur.

"The batsmen I see out in the nets are totally different to the batsmen who have gone out in the middle. Whether it is performing under pressure or fear of failure – those are things you have to take out of their mind," he added. 

Sri Lanka also need a win to wrack up points for the International Cricket Council's ODI super league, which counts as qualification for the 2023 World Cup.

"We want to close off here with a good, hard, disciplined performance tomorrow. We want to take a win home," said Arthur.