Colombo: Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has been rested for the remaining three ODIs against Pakistan following a knee operation after the home series against England in March. The national selectors have picked the uncapped left-arm spinner Sajeewa Weerakoon as his replacement.
Herath played the first two ODIs in Pallekele, bowling six overs in the first and his full quota in the second. He picked up one wicket but kept his economy rate under four an over in both games. However, keeping in mind his expected heavy workload in the Tests as the lead spinner, the team management has decided to let him recuperate till the Test series which begins in Galle on June 22.
"We had decided that he would play only two to three games in this series because it`s always tough to return after an operation," Mahala Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, said on the eve of the third ODI in Colombo. "He felt it sore in the first two games. If you noticed while fielding he was struggling a bit. After speaking to the selectors and the medical team we felt it was best he got some rest before the Test series. We needed to make sure we manage him well after his operation."
Herath was earlier rested for the Asia Cup in Bangladesh and was not part of the IPL.
Weerakoon, 34, has been on the fringes of national selection for a few years. He was the third-highest wicket-taker in the first-class 2011-12 Tier A competition with 42 wickets for Colts Cricket Club. Jayawardene said his experience in the domestic circuit should serve him well.
"Personally I feel he is a deserving candidate and hopefully he will get his opportunity tomorrow," Jayawardene said. "He has been in the shadows of Murali, Malinga Bandara, Herath and Ajantha Mendis for quite some time. He is a fighter. He has a lot of experience in club cricket and the A team."
BDST: 2038 HRS, June 12, 2012
Chanchal Ghosh, Newsroom Editor
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