September 29, 2022

SLC pulls Bhanuka Rajapaksa from India tour plans due to fitness issues

Rajapaksa reportedly failed to achieve the necessary skinfold levels as per fitness guidelines.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa. (Photo by Michael Steele-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

In a shocking decision, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) have reportedly decided to drop their power hitter Bhanuka Rajapaksa from the T20I squad which will travel to India. The 30-year-old hitter was in the bio bubble to go to India, but he won’t make the now-confirmed squad.

Sri Lanka will travel to India to play three T20Is followed by two Tests. The tour is scheduled to start from February 24. While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced the Indian teams for both series, SLC has yet to announce the Sri Lanka squad.

SLC’s selection source told NewsWire that Rajapaksa did not meet the necessary skinfold levels despite passing the 2km fitness test held last week. Previously, he was denied the right to play in the Pakistani Super League (PSL) 2022 due to the T20I series against India.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa picked by Punjab Kings at IPL 2022 Mega Auction

Rajapaksa was the only Sri Lankan striker to be selected in the Indian Premier League (IPL) mega auction 2022 as he was bought by the Punjab Kings for the price of INR 50 lakh. Rajapaksa played 18 T20Is and scored 320 carries at an average of 26.66, while having a strike rate of 136.17.

An aggressive batsman, Rajapaksa was nominated for the 2010 Under-19 World Cup in New Zealand. The hitter was instrumental for his team and finished as his country’s leading scorer with 253 points. He also had a successful tour of Australia with the U-19 side in 2009, where he made 154 carries with just 111 balls in a 50 over match.

Rajapaksa showed his true potential after being involved in a winning partnership with Charith Asalanka in a T20 World Cup 2021 group stage game against Bangladesh. Chasing 172 runs, Asalanka and Rajapaksa went 86 from just 52 balls for the fifth wicket, the latter smashing 53 from 31 balls. The batter changed the momentum in his team’s favor when he hit two sixes and as many fours in the 16th of the game. Sri Lanka won this match by five wickets.