Decision to drop Kusal Mendis for ODIs’ was taken before Sunday’s incident

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Bipin Dani

Leave aside the vice captaincy, Kusal Mendis was set to be dropped for the three ODIs’ against England, it is learnt.

The decision (in consultation with the selectors and the head coach) of the team management to drop him for the three 50-over matches was already taken immediately after the three successive defeats in the three T-20Is and was likely to have been conveyed to the 26-year-old middle order batsman.

And, he was to be dropped not for the cricketing reason and Sunday’s incident involving Mendis (with other two players), made the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) task easy.

“Before awarding the vice captaincy for the England tour, Mendis was “warned” several times”, one of the SLC sources said exclusively over the telephone on Tuesday.

“He was requested to be humble, set an example for the youngsters on tour and also to keep a low profile. However, it was found that he was constantly active on social media and it was already decided to drop him for the ODIs”, the source, privy to this in Colombo, informs.

Selectors have not named the new vice captain yet. Perhaps it may not be announced. “It will be left to the tour selector (Romesh Kaluwithara) and the team management to award the vice captaincy to the deserving player, if the situation arises”, the source further added.

All three players’ PCR tests were conducted immediately after the Sunday’s incident came to limelight and on receiving Covind-19 reports negative, were to be allowed to board the passenger flight in the wee hours on Tuesday.

Incidentally, Kusal Mendis’ incident came to light on a day when his younger brother, Omesh Mendis had some good news to offer to his principal at Prince of Wales College, Moratuwa.

Omesh has been selected in the U-19 preliminary squad of 65 players to be trained at Pallekele Stadium.

“Omesh is a young talented boy and he came to the college on Monday to get a consent paper signed for his selection”, the Principal Kusala Fernando said from Moratuwa.
Suspended Kusal Mendis also studied in the same institution.

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