File Photo: AFP

Angelo Mathews will have Lasith Malinga by his side as he leads Sri Lanka at the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 in England and Wales in June.

While Malinga, who has a chronic knee problem, has not featured in a One-Day International since November 2015, Mathews missed the ODI series against South Africa, three Twenty20 Internationals in Australia and the home series against Bangladesh because of a hamstring injury.

Mathews and Malinga are currently representing Delhi Daredevils and Mumbai Indians respectively in the Indian Premier League 2017. Malinga, though, missed Mumbai’s last game against Delhi Daredevils because he was unwell.

“Malinga has got his medical clearance to bowl 10 overs since about two weeks ago. We need to build him up to bowl 10 overs now,” said Thilanga Sumathipala, Sri Lanka Cricket’s president when announcing the squad on Monday.

“He is playing in the IPL, which is to our advantage because he is in a top-class cricketing environment and he is practising. Right now we are getting reports that he is going into eight overs in a spell. We have to make sure he is fit to bowl 10 by about May 10.”

Chamara Kapugedara is the other unexpected inclusion in the squad. Kapugedara last played an ODI in January 2016, but has gone on to build a reputation of a finisher in T20 cricket.

Apart from Malinga, the pace bowling department includes Nuwan Kulasekara, Nuwan Pradeep, Suranga Lakmal and Thisara Perera, the big-hitting all-rounder. They will also have the services of Mathews, who has bowled some overs for Delhi.

Dhananjaya de Silva, Danushka Gunathilaka, Lahiru Kumara, Sachith Pathirana, Milinda Siriwardana and Vikum Sanjaya have been left out from the squad that drew the three-ODI series 1-1 at home against Bangladesh recently.

Sri Lanka are slotted to play two ODIs against Scotland before practice matches against Australia and New Zealand. Their campaign begins against South Africa at The Oval on June 3.

Squad: Angelo Mathews (capt), Upul Tharanga, Kusal Perera, Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Chamara Kapugedara, Asela Gunaratne, Dinesh Chandimal (wk), Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekara, Nuwan Pradeep, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Seekkuge Prasanna, Lakshan Sandakan.

African News Agency