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January 19, 2020
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Oldest Sri Lanka captain banks on youngsters

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka’s oldest ever skipper Rangana Herath Monday said he hoped to build on the recent Test whitewash against Australia despite leading a young and inexperienced team to Zimbabwe.

The 38-year-old spinner became the oldest player named to head an overseas tour as regular captain Angelo Mathews and his deputy Dinesh Chandimal pulled out of the two-Test series with injuries.

“I am pleased to be appointed captain of the national team even at the age of 38,” Herath told reporters in Colombo before the team’s departure to Harare.

“It is true that we don’t have experienced players, but we have a lot of confidence after winning against Australia,” the veteran spinner said referring to Sri Lanka’s historic series win against the then world number one team in a three-match tournament ending in August.

Herath set up Sri Lanka’s success against Australia with a maiden Test hat-trick and ended up man of the series.

“What our young players lack in experience they make up with confidence,” Herath said. “The victory against Australia has given us a huge boost. We hope to make a very significant impact in Zimbabwe.”

There are three new faces in the squad for Zimbabwe – fast bowlers Kasun Madushanka and Lahiru Kumara and allrounder Asela Gunaratne.

The first Test begins on October 29 in Harare while the second is scheduled from November 6 at the same venue.

Herath becomes the oldest Sri Lankan player to be named skipper of the national team at the start of a Test series.

In 1983, leg-spinner Somachandra de Silva was asked to lead the team when regular skipper Duleep Mendis was injured during a three-day practice match in New Zealand ahead of two Tests. De Silva was 40 at the time. – AFP