Colombo: Sri Lankan cricket selectors have recalled the veteran left-hander Hashan Tillakaratne into the 15-man squad to play in the World Cup in South Africa.
Tillekaratne, 36, has played only two One-day Internationals since the 1999 World Cup in England. After Sri Lanka's disastrous 1999 performance, Tillekaratne and his senior mates Arjuna Ranatunga and Aravinda de Silva were seen as being over the hill in the new blood policy of the then selectors. Although Ranatunga who led Sri Lanka to the 1996 Cup win never figured in a One-day International thereafter, Tillakaratne and Aravinda were subsequently recalled. Tillakaratne is being thrust into the additional role of reserve wicket-keeper as the selectors have resisted pressure to induct Romesh Kaluwitharana. The big hitting left-handed opening batsman Avishka Gunawardena has also been recalled, having been out of contention since the Natwest triangular held in England in July. Gunawardena, whose batting resembles the explosive style of Sanath Jayasuriya, should put pressure on the captain who has been plagued with a string of low scores. Also recalled is the right arm seamer Charitha Buddika Fernando. His last appearance was in the Morocco Cup held in August. The squad has nine specialist batsmen. The solitary spinner is Muthiah Muralitharan, who needs three more wickets to reach the double of 300 ODI wickets and 400 Test wickets, a feat only achieved by Pakistan's Wasim Akram. The Sri Lankans, who are currently playing in the VB series in Australia, are yet to sign contracts with the Board of Control for Cricket in Sri Lanka, a Board source said. The Board has rejected a demand for an additional 18 per cent pay rise in return for giving up personal sponsorship contracts. Team: Sanath Jayasuriya (captain), Marvan Atapattu, Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva, Russel Arnold, Jehan Mubarak, Avishka Gunawardene, Hashan Tillakaratne, Muthiah Muralitharan, Chaminda Vaas, Dilhara Fernando, Pulasthi Gunaratne, Prabath Nissanka and Charitha Buddika Fernando
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