Kolkata : Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal was on Thursday asked whether he sought any blessing from ‘meyni’ (sorcerer) ahead of their gruelling India tour as team manager Asanka Gurusinha promptly came to his defence to avoid any further embarrassment.
The Sri Lankan skipper had stunned everyone last month when with his witchcraft confession that he had received a special blessing from a ‘meyni’ ahead of their surprise series sweep against Pakistan in UAE. Team manager and former Sri Lankan batsman Gurusinha played down the controversy and said they believe in performing on the ground as they begin the series with the Eden Test from November 16. ‘He has answered some questions back there. In cricket, you got to get out there and perform on the field… Each player has to do that. That’s the way the Sri Lankan team believe. ‘Yes, we have our own religious beliefs like all of you. But at the end of the day, you go there and just play,’ Gurusinha said putting an end to the issue. Sri Lanka’s selectors have axed top-order batsman Kusal Mendis who went through a lean patch since making a hundred against India in the second Test at SSC. He had 13 innings without a half-century and was dropped from the ODI side after the second game in Abu Dhabi. Gurusinha who is also a selector however backed him and said he would return stronger. ‘We know he’s one of our future players. It’s up to us to protect and guide him through. If we brought him here and he failed, he would have been out of the team for nearly one and half years. ‘We didn’t want to do that. We have some plans for him. We want him to play domestic cricket. I believe he will come strong.’
Fast bowler Nuwan Pradeep was overlooked from the Tests due to fitness concerns but he is expected to be brought back into the side for the ODIs. ‘We can’t take on the no 1 side with injured players. We want to give him time to build his fitness level. He will be definitely there for the ODI series and we will start from there. He’s not out of Test cricket for us. Hopefully, he will be back by Bangladesh early next year,’ the selector hoped. Sri Lanka will take on India in three Tests, three ODIs and an equal number of T20Is with the series ending Mumbai
on December 24.