Sri Lanka drop Atapattu

May 10, 2007 (AFP) – Veteran batsman Marvan Atapattu has been omitted from the 15-man Sri Lanka squad for the three-match one day international series against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, officials said. Only nine of the 15 players who represented the country in the World Cup have been named in the squad for the series starting on May 18.

Veterans Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas were released by governing body Sri Lanka Cricket to play county cricket in England.

Russel Arnold has retired from international cricket while seamer Nuwan Kulasekara, who played one game in the World Cup, were left out along with Atapattu.

Asantha de Mel, Sri Lanka’s chairman of selectors, said that they decided to drop Atapattu as they wanted to groom young players.

“We just thought of taking this opportunity to take a look at a few young players. Marvan will be considered in the future, but for this series we thought of going with a couple of young guys,” de Mel said.

Uncapped opening batsman Malintha Warnapura (27) has been named in the squad after his excellent form with the “A” team, along with Ishara Amarasinghe (28), another uncapped player.

“Malintha deserves