Former Sri Lanka pacer Rumesh Ratnayake has been appointed as the interim coach of the national men’s team ahead of their tour of five T20Is against Australia in February. Ratnayake had earlier served in the same capacity with Sri Lanka during the recent ODI series against Zimbabwe at home, which they won 2-1.
“Rumesh Ratnayake was appointed as the interim coach of the National Team for the upcoming Sri Lanka Tour of Australia. He was appointed by the Executive Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket in consultation with the Technical Advisory Committee of Sri Lanka Cricket,” read the statement from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) on Wednesday.
The 58-year-old Ratnayake, who featured in 23 Tests and 70 ODIs in an international career spanning from 1982 to 1993, is currently serving as a fast bowling coach at the High-Performance Centre. The latest announcement means that Ratnayake will continue in the role vacated by former head coach Mickey Arthur in November 2021.
But he will not be linking up with the squad immediately to leave for Australia due to being infected with COVID-19. “Ratnayake will not travel to Australia with the team but will join before the 1st T20I game, as he is currently in self-isolation having tested positive for COVID-19,” further said the statement.
Earlier, openers Danushka Gunathilaka and Kusal Mendis have both made their way back into the Sri Lankan T20I side for the five-match series against Australia after being suspended for a year for breaking COVID-19 protocols during the away series against England last year.
Wicketkeeper-batter Niroshan Dickwella — the third player to have been suspended for the offence on the tour — has not been included. Sri Lanka begin their series against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground from February 11.
Squad: Dasun Shanaka (capt), Charith Asalanka, Avishka Fernando, Pathum Nissanka, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Janith Liyanage, Kamil Mishara, Ramesh Mendis, Wanindu Hasaranga, Lahiru Kumara, Nuwan Thushara, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Maheesh Theekshana, Jeffrey Vandersay, Praveen Jayawickrama, Shiran Fernando.