DELHI (Agencies): Thisara Perera will lead Sri Lanka’s ODI team in the three-match series against India beginning December 10. It will be the 28-year old allrounder’s first experience of the role in 50-over international cricket, though he was in charge of a depleted T20I side that took on Pakistan at Gaddafi stadium last month. He will retain command of the side in the shortest format in India.
Thisara has played 125 ODIs since his debut in December 2009, with a formidable strike-rate of 109 but an average of only 17. As a bowler, he has taken 133 wickets at 32.62 apiece. His form in recent series, though, has come under some scrutiny. Thisara made only 91 runs – at 18.20 – and picked up a mere four wickets in the ODIs against Pakistan and followed that with 19 runs and three wickets across three T20Is.
SLC, however, is thought to have been impressed with Thisara’s commanding of a young outfit when several first-choice players expressed reluctance to travel to Lahore. Sri Lanka’s limited-overs cricket has undergone plenty of upheaval this year. They lost an ODI series for the first time to Zimbabwe, which prompted Angelo Mathews to resign. Upul Tharanga was then appointed captain, but on his watch Sri Lanka were whitewashed 5-0 at home by India and 5-0 away by Pakistan.
The team was beaten 5-0 in South Africa as well, when Tharanga had been a stand-in captain. His batting form, however, was one of the few bright spots during this period. Tharanga carried his bat, scoring 112 not out against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, and also flayed 119 off only 90 balls against South Africa attack in Cape Town. His future with the team – and the nature and duration of Thisara’s tenure – is as yet unclear with SLC likely to announce the full squad soon.
Thisara is the seventh man to captain Sri Lanka in 2017, following Mathews, Lasith Malinga, Rangana Herath, Dinesh Chandimal and Chamara Kapugedera who have borne the responsibility in one format or other.