Start of the Asian Junior Chess Championship – The Island

by Reemus Fernando

Madampa Central spinner Malsha Tharupathi and Sakuna Liyanage of Lumbini College are among 17 players selected for the ICC Asian Under-19 Cup and ICC Youth World Cup. The players were chosen from the squad that competed in the Under-19 series against England.

The team led by St. Joseph’s College versatile Dunith Wellalage were due to enter a secure bio bubble today ahead of their departure for the Asian Under-19 Cup. The Asian Under-19 Cup kicks off on December 23 in the United Arab Emirates with the team leaving the island on December 21.

The youth team will be away for more than a month as they travel to the West Indies for the Youth World Cup after the Asian Cup. Sri Lanka Cricket has not announced the teams selected for the two key events, but it is understood that the same team will play in both events.

Tharupathi and Liyanage were only involved in the England Under-19 series. While Liyanage (former Royal College player, Moneragala) only played one game, Tharupahi picked up a wicket apiece in the two games he played.

Sasanka Nirmal and Lahiru Abeysinghe are the players who have been excluded from the squad which met their English counterparts recently. St. Peter’s all-rounder Danal Hemananda was also part of the Under-19 squad that met England, but it was clear he would not be part of the squad after the all-rounder was allowed to participate in the Battle of the Saints.

Spinner Malsha Tharupathi in action against England Under 19.

During the Bangladesh and England Under-19 series, Pawan Pathiraja, Shevon Daniel, Dunith Wellalage, Raveen de Silva and Chamindu Wickramasinghe were Sri Lanka’s main batsmen. Ranuda Somarathne took the opportunity to score points in the series against England. They all kept their places. Sadisha Rajapaksha who peaked in the last game of the series against England, Sadeesh Jayawardena (scored two half centuries in the Bangladesh series) and Abhishek Liyanaarachchi join to strengthen the batting department. However, the team management has yet to find the best combination to open the stick and share the new ball.

The team will rely heavily on the spin with Wellalage and Raveen de Silva being the experienced players. Treveen Mathew, Wanuja Kumara, Tharupathi and Daniel will offer plenty of rotation options.

Speedster Matheesha Pathirana, Vinuja Ranpul, Yasiru Rodrigo and Wickramasinghe will form the rhythm department.

Sri Lanka Under 19:

Dunith Wellalage (Captain – St. Joseph’s), Shevon Daniel (St. Joseph’s), Anjala Bandara (St. Anthony’s, Katugastota), Pawan Pathiraja (Trinity), Sadisha Rajapaksa (Royal), Sadeesh Jayawardena (St. Joseph’s), Wanuja Kumara (St. Peter’s), Raveen de Silva (Nalanda), Ranuda Somarathne (Trinity), Malsha Tharupathi (Madampa Central), Abhishek Liyanaarachchi (DS Senanayake), Traveen Mathew (St. Anthony’s, Katugastota), Yasiru Rodrigo (S. Thomas’ , Mount Lavinia), Matheesha Pathirana (Trinity), Chamidu Wickramasinghe (St. Anthony’s, Katugastota), Vinuja Ranpul (Nalanda), Sakuna Liyanage (Lumbini).

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