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Sri Lanka name 20-man pool with World Cup in view

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka have named a 20-man nucleus of players they plan to use during the coming nine months in preparation for next year's World Cup.

The squad will also form the pool from which Sri Lanka will select their final choices for this month's test series against South Africa and a tri-series also involving India that follows in August.

The squad includes injured captain Marvan Atapattu who has not played since March because of an acute career-threatening lower back problem that required surgery in May.

"We think this will be the nucleus of players from which the final 14 will be selected for the World Cup," Ashantha de Mel, the chairman of selectors, told journalists on Monday.

While Atapattu aims for a return during the Champions Trophy in October, stand-in skipper Mahela Jayawardene has been reconfirmed as captain until Atapattu recovers full fitness.

The notable absentees are fast bowler Nuwan Kulasekera and batsman Jehan Mubarak, both of whom participated in the recent series against England.

Sri Lanka start the first of two tests against South Africa at the Sinhalese Sports Club on July 27.

Squad:

Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Upul Tharanga, Kumar Sangakkara, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Russel Arnold, Chamara Kapugedera, Farvez Maharoof, Chaminda Vaas, Ruchira Perera, Dilhara Fernando, Lasith Malinga, Malinga Bandara, Muttiah Muralitharan, Marvan Atapattu, Michael Vandort, Thilan Samaraweera, Rangana Herath, Nuwan Zoysa, Prasanna Jayawardene.

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