Sri Lanka v Australia T20Is - Men
Sri Lanka name 'Baby Malinga' in squad to face Australia
Teenage fast bowler picked in Sri Lanka's provisional T20 squad to face Australia next month
21 May 2022, 10:57 AM AEST
Nineteen-year-old Matheesha Pathirana, who has been labelled "an even more extreme example of (Lasith) Malinga", has been named in Sri Lanka's provisional T20 squad to face Australia next month.
Pathirana made an instant impact on his debut in the Indian Premier League last week, despite having played just two senior T20 matches previously, catching the eye due to his highly unusual bowling action that has drawn instant comparisons to the legendary 'Slinger' Malinga.
Pathirana's first senior international call-up was confirmed on Friday as Sri Lankan selectors named extended Test, ODI and T20 squads for Australia's upcoming tour.
The 24-man provisional Test squad includes the 18 men currently in Bangladesh for a two-Test campaign, with top-order batter Pathum Nissanka also picked despite recently suffering a back injury.
Veterans Dimuth Karunaratne, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal will lead the Sri Lankan batting, while left-armer Lasith Embuldeniya headlines a strong spin attack.
Australia have already named full-strength squads for the all-format campaign that will include three T20Is, five ODIs and two Tests.
Pathirana has been playing in the IPL at Chennai under the captaincy of Indian legend MS Dhoni, who said comparisons to Malinga go beyond just their similar bowling actions.
"He is an excellent death bowler," Dhoni said. "A bit similar to Malinga.
"Also what happens with his action, the margin of error for him is quite big. With a slingy action he doesn't get a lot of bounce. Which means even if he commits an error of one yard, it is not like it will hit the middle of the bat. It wouldn't bounce a lot.
"With his action, it is slightly difficult to pick. And he has got that slower one also. So you have to watch him very carefully. Which means when you spend those extra seconds watching the ball and he is bowling at a decent pace, it becomes quite difficult to consistently hit him."
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who has been working on the IPL as a pundit but could reportedly join Australia's coaching staff for the Sri Lankan tour, said Pathirana's unique style could make him "the sort of bowler who disrupts the T20 game".
"I think he is an even more extreme example of Malinga," Vettori told ESPNCricinfo.
"He sort of reaches back and doesn't even look like he is looking at the target. Whereas Malinga felt like he still had his eyes on what he is doing. But he obviously caught batsmen by surprise. Shubman Gill and Hardik Pandya are quality players.
"That surprise element still comes from the ball coming from a completely different angle to the one you are used to. His accuracy was good enough and once he adds those variations, he can be the sort of bowler who disrupts the T20 game.
"I don't think he is ever going to be an economical-type bowler but he can certainly come back, take wickets and put the fear of god into some tailenders."
Sri Lanka provisional Test squad: Dimuth Karunaratne (c), Pathum Nissanka, Kamil Mishara, Oshada Fernando, Kusal Mendis, Angelo Mathews, Dhananjaya De Silva, Kamindu Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella, Dinesh Chandimal, Chamika Karunaratne, Ramesh Mendis, Mohamed Shiraz, Shiran Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Asitha Fernando, Jeffrey Vandersay, Lakshitha Rasanjana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lasith Embuldeniya, Suminda Lakshan
Sri Lanka provisional ODI squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Gunathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Dhananjaya De Silva, Ashen Bandara, Dinesh Chandimal, Niroshan Dickwella, Janith Liyanage, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Sahan Arachchi, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Dilshan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Kasun Rajitha, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama
Sri Lanka provisional T20I squad: Dasun Shanaka (c), Danushka Guanathilaka, Pathum Nissanka, Kusal Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Ashen Bandara, Niroshan Dickwella, Dunith Wellalage, Dhananjaya Lakshan, Sahan Aarachchi, Wanindu Hasaranga, Chamika Karunaratne, Lahiru Madushanka, Ramesh Mendis, Dushmantha Chameera, Binura Fernando, Matheesha Pathirana, Nuwan Thushara, Kasun Rajitha, Nipun Malinga, Lahiru Kumara, Jeffrey Vandersay, Maheesh Theekshana, Praveen Jayawickrama, Lakshan Sandakan
Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, 2022
Australia's T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Josh Hazlewood, Josh Inglis, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Jhye Richardson, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner, Matthew Wade
June 7: First T20, Colombo
June 8: Second T20, Colombo
June 11: Third T20, Kandy
Australia's ODI squad: Aaron Finch (c), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 14: First ODI, Kandy
June 16: Second ODI, Kandy
June 19: Third ODI, Colombo
June 21: Fourth ODI, Colombo
June 24: Fifth ODI, Colombo
Australia's Test squad: Pat Cummins (c), Ashton Agar, Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, David Warner
June 29 - July 3: First Test, Galle
July 8-12: Second Test, Galle
Australia A fixtures
Squad: Sean Abbott, Scott Boland, Pete Handscomb, Aaron Hardie, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Henry Hunt, Josh Inglis, Matthew Kuhnemann, Nic Maddinson, Todd Murphy, Josh Philippe, Matt Renshaw, Jhye Richardson, Tanveer Sangha, Mark Steketee
June 8: First one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 10: Second one-day game v Sri Lanka A, Colombo
June 14-17: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota
June 21-24: first-class tour match v Sri Lanka A, Hambantota