Wanindu Hasaranga Ends Test Retirement for Bangladesh Series to Delay IPL Debut for SRH

In the latest developments from Sri Lanka Cricket, the enthralling spin all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga is slated for an unexpected return to the Test arena as part of Sri Lanka’s squad set to take on Bangladesh in the upcoming series commencing on March 22. Despite having announced his retirement from Test cricket last year to prioritize white-ball formats and leagues, Hasaranga will don the Sri Lankan whites once again, much to the astonishment and delight of cricket enthusiasts worldwide.

Bangladesh will host Sri Lanka for a duo of Test matches spanning from March 22 to April 3, and Hasaranga’s inclusion in the 17-member troop guided by captain Dhananjaya de Silva is set to make an impact. However, his commitment to his national side means that Hasaranga will be absent from the initial skirmishes of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024, where he is contracted with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).

At the age of 26, Hasaranga made the pivotal decision to retire from Test cricket on August 15 of the previous year, citing his desire to further his career in the more lucrative franchise cricket circuit. Since his departure, Sri Lanka has engaged in just one Test match and has yet to taste victory in the current cycle of the ICC World Test Championship 2022-25.

SRH secured the services of Hasaranga at his base price of INR 1.5 crore during the player auction for the 2024 incarnation of the IPL. Hasaranga has been in remarkable form in the global T20 and ODI stages, recently having been handed the T20I captaincy in the aftermath of Sri Lanka’s unfortunate campaign in the ICC ODI World Cup 2023.

The Hyderabad-based franchise is scheduled to commence their IPL 2024 trail with a clash against Kolkata Knight Riders at the historic Eden Gardens on March 23, with a battery of matches lined up in the tournament’s early exchanges. Hasaranga, consequently, will be compelled to forgo the first three matches due to his national duties, potentially marking his debut for SRH in a highly anticipated encounter with the Chennai Super Kings in Hyderabad on April 5.

This decision by Hasaranga illustrates the enduring allure of Test cricket and the weight it carries in the heart of players even amidst the flourishing landscape of T20 franchises. It also emphasizes the balancing act cricketers face in trying to fulfill their national obligations while partaking in the ever-growing circuit of global T20 leagues.

As cricket fans pivot their attention towards Hasaranga’s return to the Test fold, SRH will no doubt feel the absence of their new recruit in the initial games of IPL 2024. Yet his choice to align with national pride over franchise cricket could set a precedent and carve out a space where both forms of the game can coexist in a player’s career.

Concluding the release, the Sri Lanka Test squad for the Bangladesh series has been confirmed as follows: Dhananjaya De Silva (c), Kusal Mendis (vc), Dimuth Karunaratne, Nishan Madushka, Angelo Mathews, Dinesh Chandimal, Sadeera Samarawickrama, Kamindu Mendis, Lahiru Udara, Wanindu Hasaranga, Prabath Jayasuriya, Ramesh Mendis, Nishan Peiris, Kasun Rajitha, Vishwa Fernando, Lahiru Kumara, Chamika Gunasekara.

With an eye on successes of the past and challenges that lie ahead, the assembled squad will look to emulate the kind of performances that fans have come to expect from Sri Lanka, while Hasaranga, straddling the domains of Test and T20 cricket, prepares to reaffirm his value on both fronts.

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