Off-spinner Maheesh Theekshana, who made his international debut in the ongoing series against South Africa, was on Sunday named in Sri Lanka's 15-player squad for the ICC Men's T20 World Cup in UAE and Oman. Top-order batters Bhanuka Rajapaksa and Kamindu Mendis were the surprise picks while senior pacer Nuwan Pradeep and keeper-batter Kusal Perera returned to the side.
Theekshana made a sensational debut in the third ODI against South Africa, where he led Sri Lanka to victory in the decider with a bowling performance 4-37. Following, the 21-year old was also handed his T20I cap in the first match on Friday.
Spinner Akila Dhananjaya and pacer Binura Fernando were named as reserves alongside Lahiru Kumara and Pulina Tharanga. Minod Bhanuka, who kept wickets in the absence of Perera, was dropped from the squad led by all-rounder Dasun Shanaka. Dhananjaya de Silva will be Shanaka's deputy.
Niroshan Dickwella, Kusal Mendis, and Danushka Gunathilaka were the other major omissions, as the trio were banned for a year for breaking Covid protocols on the recent tour of England.
Sri Lanka's squad for 2021 T20 World Cup:
Dasun Shanaka (C), Dhananjaya De Silva, Kusal Perera, Dinesh Chandimal, Avishka Fernando, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Charith Asalanka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Kamindu Mendis, Chamika Karunaratne, Nuwan Pradeep, Dushmantha Chameera, Praveen Jayawickrema, Lahiru Madushanka, Maheesh Theekshana
Reserves: Lahiru Kumara, Binura Fernando, Akila Dananjaya, Pulina Tharanga