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New responsibility

Swashbuckling opener TM Dilshan has been appointed captain of the Sri Lanka cricket team for its upcoming England series. Dilshan will lead the side in all three formats of the game. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

cricket Updated: Apr 19, 2011 00:17 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Swashbuckling opener TM Dilshan has been appointed captain of the Sri Lanka cricket team for its upcoming England series.

Dilshan, currently taking part in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) would be captaining the team in all three formats of the game during the series. The Lankans play three tests, five one-days and one T20 game besides three warm-up matches during the nearly two-month series.

Former captain Kumar Sangakkara had resigned earlier this month, saying it was time for Sri Lankan cricket to plan for the future. But he had made himself available for captaincy for the England tour. It was touted to be his last overseas tour as captain.

As it turned out, the board had other plans.

Announcing Dilshan’s captaincy on Monday in a brief statement, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) added that it was not immediately appointing a vice-captain. "The national selectors have postponed the appointment of a Vice Captain, since the prospective candidates are nursing injuries, and their availability for the forthcoming tour is still in question," SLC said.

Interestingly, in 2009, Dilshan was briefly named vice-captain before being removed abruptly. This time, it was all-rounder Angelo Mathews who was considered a front-runner for the post of vice-captain.

But because of injury, Mathews might not at all be part of the Lankan squad for England.

Quoting an anonymous sources, the Island newspaper reported: "Dilshan will only be a short term captain as there were concerns whether he would at the peak of his form by the next World Cup in 2015."

Dilshan’s remarkable turnaround with the bat began in 2009 when he volunteered to open against Pakistan. Since then, he’s hit six hundreds in tests and five centuries in the 50 overs’ game Middle-order batsman, Thilan Samaraweera’s name was also considered for captaincy.

But according to reports because Samaraweera wasn’t too sure of his place in all three formats of the game, he was left out. The announcement of Dilshan as captain comes in the middle of the controversy regarding the Lankan board ordering its players to abandon their IPL commitments and return home by May 5.

With the first three-day game against Middlesex slated for May 14, it would give the Lankan players just a few days to be together for a final camp before the series starts.