Farveez Maharoof, the Sri Lankan allrounder, has been ruled out of the West Indies tour with a side strain.
Maharoof, 23, suffered the injury during the recently-concluded CB Series in Australia, but was named in the 15-member Test squad for the two matches against West Indies starting later this month.
Selection committee sources stated that Maharoof had failed to recover sufficiently from the injury and would miss the tour. A replacement for Maharoof is expected to be named shortly.
Left-arm fast bowler Chanaka Welegedara is the likely choice. Welegedara toured Australia for the CB Series but did not play a single match due to a technical problem with his follow-through, where he was warned for running on the pitch.
On his return home Welegedara worked on his flaw with the Sri Lanka Cricket fast-bowling coaches and had rectified it satisfying the selectors to consider him as a replacement for the injured Maharoof.
Mahela Jayawardene, Sri Lanka's captain, has already said that his team would have to play some smart cricket to achieve a first win in the Caribbean. "The West Indies may not be all that strong but they have some decent cricketers," he said. "If we don't play to our potential we are not going to do well. The two Tests provide us with a great opportunity to win in the West Indies."
The first Test will take place in Guyana from March 22 to 26 and the second in Trinidad from April 3 to 7. Jayawardene felt the new Guyana surface, where Sri Lanka played a couple of one-day games during the 2007 World Cup, would suit spin although it was on the slow side. "Trinidad is a venue where they usually have a little bit of pace and bounce and a bit of movement. We played there one year ago but we don't know how the wickets been behaving right now. I reckon Guyana will be more suitable for spin," he said.
Jayawardene admitted that the absence of Sanath Jayasuriya's left-arm spin had in a way contributed to the inclusion of a similar spinner, Rangana Herath, ahead of legspinner Malinga Bandara.
"The selectors as well as a lot of people have been saying that Rangana is bowling at domestic level and that he is a better bowler for the longer version and that he will be a very good support bowler for Murali," he said. "The selectors were of the opinion that Rangana would be a good choice if it comes to playing two spinners. We went with that direction.
"Malinga has been with us for quite some time, he has toured a lot and played a lot of cricket. Unfortunately Malinga hasn't had the opportunity to play Test cricket because of [Muttiah] Muralitharan and the combinations that we went with but on and off he's had his opportunities. He's still part of the game. The World Cup is in the subcontinent and we might play two spinners."Sri Lanka in West Indies 2007-08