Chandimal Getty

The Asia Cup 2018 is going to be played in the 50 over format this year and is going to have six participating teams. With the tournament being played in the 50 over format, it would also serve as ideal preparation for the 2019 World Cup for the participants.

With less than a month to go for the tournament to start, Sri Lanka has announced a 31-man preliminary squad to kick off preparations for the event. Their training is expected to commence in early September. Dinesh Chandimal who was serving a ban handed out by SLC during the ODI and Test series against South Africa makes a return to the ODI setup. He played a match-winning knock of 36* in a low-scoring lone T20I against South Africa earlier this week, his first game after comeback from the ban.

The series will feature six teams in two groups. Group A consists of India, Pakistan and one team from qualifiers. Group B consists of Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka played well in the last two ODIs of the series with South Africa recently, even though they lost the series 2-3 in the final analysis. They are the defending champion of the 50-over Asia Cup, last time when it was held in this format in Bangladesh in 2014. Sri Lanka beat Pakistan convincingly in the final in that edition. It was the first time Afghanistan participated in the Asia Cup when it was held in 2014.

The 31 member squad features some new faces such as Shammu Ashan, Shehan Madushanka, Nishan Peiris, Kamindu Mendis and Jehan Daniel. Mendis recently played for the Sri Lanka U-19 side against the touring India Colts.

Sri Lanka will face Bangladesh in their opening game on September 15 in Dubai.

The 31 member preliminary squad:

Thisara Perera, Upul Tharanga, Danushka Gunathilaka, Kusal Mendis, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Kusal Perera, Asela Gunaratne, Niroshan Dickwella, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Suranga Lakmal, Nuwan Pradeep, Dasun Shanaka, Lahiru Gamage, Vishwa Fernando, Dushmantha Chameera, Shehan Madushanka, Lahiru Kumara, Akila Dananjaya, Jeffrey Vandersay, Amila Aponso, Lakshan Sadakan, Nishan Peiris, Kamindu Mendis, Charith Asalanka, Jehan Daniel, Shammu Ashan, Dimuth Karunaratne, Dhananjaya de Silva, Asitha Fernando, Chamika Karunaratne.