Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) has announced a major announcement before announcing its 15-member team for the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Opening batsman Dimuth Karunartne has been appointed as the new ODI captain of Sri Lanka and will lead the side in the marquee event.
Sri Lanka Cricket confirmed on Wednesday through a media release that “Karunaratne’s appointment was confirmed by Minister of External Affairs and Sports Minister Harin Fernando.”
The 31-year-old Karunaratne, who didn’t play a single ODI since the 2015 World Cup, has only featured in 17 ODIs and averages 15.83 with a high score of 60.
He will replace Malinga, who captained the team during the 0-5 defeat to South Africa in the ODI series.
Malinga, who led Sri Lanka for the World T20 Trophy in 2014, had a personal disagreement with the team management and some senior players, due to which the team also had sour in the form of a captain.
Karunaratne, a Test opener, forced himself in the ODI captaincy after his success in the Test arena. He led Sri Lanka to a historic victory 2-0 in South Africa and made Sri Lanka the only Asian side to win the Test series in South Africa.
Other options were Angelo Mathews, who was the first ODI captain of Sri Lanka in the first two separate stunts. It is said that Mathews refuted the offer to the captain, citing his disagreement with coach Chandika Hathurasinghe.
This news will be a blow to Malinga, who had played a domestic match in Kandy only 14 hours after playing IPL matches for Mumbai Indians in their franchise earlier this month.
Apart from Malinga and Mathews, Sri Lanka also tried to lead Dinesh Chandimal and Thesara Perera at different levels in the last two years since the retirement of Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene in 2014.
Karunaratne is said to be a curious student of the strategic aspects of cricket and he is also considered to be supporting the dressing room. It is known that Malinga had a strong relationship with the team management and some of his national teammates.
Karunaratne is late in the form of a fantastic form, even in the ICC Test Team of the Year for 2018 was selected. His most glorious moment so far was in the South Africa series, when he led Sri Lanka to one of their most famous Test triumphs standing in as skipper for Dinesh Chandimal.
The team’s fortune decreased as it slipped in ICC rankings in all formats since then.