In a shocking decision, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have reportedly decided to drop their power hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksa from the T20I squad set to travel to India. The 30-year-old batter was in the bio bubble to travel to India, but he will not be the part of the squad now confirmed.
Sri Lanka will be travelling to India to play three T20Is followed by two Tests. The tour is slated to start from February 24. While, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced India’s squads for both series, SLC is yet to announce Sri Lanka squad. Selection source in SLC told that Rajapaksa has not attained the necessary skinfold levels although, the he passed the 2-km fitness test held last week. Earlier, he was denied from playing in the 2022 Pakistan Super League (PSL) due to T20I series against India.
Rajapaksa was the only Sri Lankan batter to be picked at the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction, as he was purchased by Punjab Kings at a price of INR 50 lakh. Rajapaksa has played 18 T20Is and has scored 320 runs at an average of 26.66, while having a strike rate of 136.17. An aggressive batter, Rajapaksa was named for the 2010 Under-19 World Cup played in New Zealand. The batter played an instrumental role for his team and finished as the leading run-scorer for his country with 253 runs. He also had a good tour of Australia with the U-19 team in 2009, where he smashed 154 runs off just 111 balls in a 50 over match.
Rajapaksa showed his true potential after he was involved in a match winning partnership with Charith Asalanka in a group stage match of 2021 T20 World Cup against Bangladesh. Chasing 172 runs, Asalanka and Rajapaksa put up 86 off just 52 balls for the fifth wicket, with the latter smashing 53 off 31 balls. The hard-hitter changed the momentum in his team’s favor when he hit two sixes and as many fours in the 16th over of the match. Sri Lanka won that match by five wickets.