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Development Squad’s tour of Bangladesh :

‘An opportunity for youngsters to show their prowess’

Sri Lanka’s Development Squad coach Romesh Kaluwitharana believes their tour of Bangladesh starting from today will open the gates for many talented players to make a lasting impression that will put them in line for a place in the national team.

The 15 member Sri Lanka Development Squad led by Tamil Union all rounder Muthumudalige Pushpakumara will leave the country today and will play two four day matches, five one day games and another two day practice match against their counterparts during their tour.

Originally the tour also included a Triangular limited over series featuring a team from South Africa who have however informed their inability to participate.

As a result Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will play five one dayers after the two 4 day fixtures at the Chittagong National Stadium.

This is also the second team from Sri Lanka to tour Bangladesh within the space of few days after the Under 19 team led by Dinesh Chandimal departed last week for a series of matches.

This tour of course will be of great significance for Kaluwitharana who will be involved with a national team for the first time.

The former Sri Lanka wicket keeper opening batsman made his mark by guiding Colts Cricket Club to win the SLC Premier League Tier A title this year after a short stint with the Malaysian national team for the World Cup qualifying round tournament. The other major factor is there are five exciting players in the Development Squad who are also in contention to earn a place in the Sri Lanka squad for the upcoming ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England.

The five players who will be hoping to make an early impact in an attempt to gain a place in the Sri Lanka team will be Gihan Rupasinghe, Isuru Udana, Milinda Siriwardena, Thisara Perera and Lahiru Thirimnna.

Coach Kaluwitharana stated that these players have been given the opportunity and now it is upto them to adapt to the foreign conditions and perform to their fullest potential.

He added that he is quite happy to serve the Development Squad as it is a feeder towards the ‘A’ team and thereafter to the national squad. “We have enough talent but lack professionalism and I am prepared to work closely with the SLC to overcome this aspect of the game,” added Kaluwitharana who believes the purpose of a squad of this nature is to provide good replacements for the future.

Another important fact is that some of these players could also stand a chance of been promoted into the list of contracted players of Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC).

Kaluwitharana also said that they had very few days of preparation for this tour but believe the players will soon acclimatize to the conditions and deliver the goods.

The Sri Lanka Development Squad: Muthumudalige Pushpakumara (captain), Mahela Udawatte (vice captain), Lahiru Thirimanna, Kanchana Gunawardena, Gihan Rupasinghe, Milinda Siriwardena, Kaushal Silva, Ashan Priyanjan, Nuwan Pradeep, Chanaka Welagedera, Isuru Udana, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Ranesh Perera, Suraj Mohamed.

Stand byes: Seekuge Prasanna, Chaminda Vidanapathirana, Kusal Janith Perera.

Coach: Romesh Kaluwitharana.

Manager: Anura Tennekoon.

The itinerary: April 30 and May 1: 2 day warm up match at Chittagong.

May 4 to 7: 1st four day match at Chittagong. May 10 to 13: 2nd four day match at Chittagong. May 16: 1st one day at Sylhet.

May 17: 2nd one day at Sylhet.

May 19: 3rd one day at Sylhet.

May 21: 4th one day at Sylhet. May 22: 5th one day at Sylhet.

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