Sri Lanka have sacked Lasith Malinga as captain for Word Cup 2019 and replaced him with Test skipper Dimuth Karunaratne, who has played an ODI at least four years.
Chairman of selectors Asantha de Mel said at the event in England,they wanted “somebody who can get the team together”, where Sri Lanka will play their first game against New Zealand on June 1.
De Mel admitted that the Sri Lankan team, which has been riven with personality clashes and disciplinary troubles in recent years, were struggling with “a lot of issues inside”.
On the sacking of Malinga, de Mel said: “He was OK as captain, but he does not get along well with some of the senior players.”
Karunaratne was the only choice left to take the reins, after veteran former skipper Angelo Mathews opted out of becoming captain owing to differences with the coach Chandika Hathurusinghe.
His appointment comes just weeks after he was apprehended for a drink-driving incident that injured another driver, the 31-year-old labelling his actions “utterly unbecoming of a Sri Lankan national cricketer”.
Karunaratne came to prominence as skipper when he led the team to a historic 2-0 win in South Africa this year, the first Asian team to beat South Africa in a home Test series.
However, the left-hander has not played an ODI since the last World Cup in 2015 and his total performances from 17 matches is 190 runs at an average of 15 and strike rate of 68.
The opener recently pulled out of a planned stint with English county side Hampshire to play in the Sri Lankan domestic one-day competition and he’s shown some good form, posting scores of 109 and 86 in the past month.
Sri Lankan selectors will take decision on Thursday the final squad for the World Cup, which starts on May 30.
Malinga and Mathews are considered certainties to keep their places in the squad despite having been kept out of leadership duties.