Sri Lanka top order batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has been dropped last minute as Sri Lanka Cricket announced the squad for the T20I series against India at the last moment. The 30-year-old was staying at the team hotel in a bio bubble before the India tour. But according to sources, Bhanuka Rajapaksa hasn’t been picked for the India tour, due to fitness concerns.
The left-handed batter was in the news when he announced his retirement from all formats of cricket in the first week of January 2022. He cited familial obligations as the key reason for his retirement from the sport. But then ten days later, Rajapaksa withdrew his retirement and professed to play for Sri Lanka in the “years to come”.
The statement made by Sri Lanka Cricket said, “Pursuant to a meeting with the Hon. Namal Rajapaksa – Minister of Youth & Sports and after consulting with the National Selectors, Bhanuka Rajapaksa has notified SLC that he wishes to withdraw his resignation which he tendered to SLC on 3rd Jan. 2022, with immediate effect. In his letter to SLC withdrawing his resignation, he further states that he wishes to represent his country in the game he loves for the years to come.”
Rajapaksa made his International debut in a T20I against Pakistan in October 2019. Since then, he has scored 320 runs in the T20 format with an average of 26.6 in 18 games. Whereas, he has put up 89 runs in the 50-over format from five games with an average of 17.80. Rajapaksa was also a crucial part of the Sri Lanka squad in the 2021 T20 World Cup. He was also picked up by Punjab Kings for the upcoming Indian Premier League in the 2022 Auction at the price of Rs 50 Lakhs.
Against India, Rajaspaska scored 89 runs from three one-day games in January 2021. He scored a crucial 65 in the third ODI match where Sri Lanka defeated India by three wickets while chasing 227 runs in a rain-affected game. Rajapaksa alongside Asvika Fernando put up an important partnership to help Sri Lanka win their first game of the series in that fixture.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka are set to play three T20Is against India starting February 24.
Sri Lanka’s squad for T20I series against India:
Dasun Shanaka (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Dinesh Chandimal, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kamil Mishara, Janith Liyanage, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Dushmantha Chameera, Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando, Shiran Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Ashian Daniel (Subjected to Ministerial approval)