Colombo: Sri Lanka have included pace spearhead Lasith Malinga in their 15-man squad for the Cricket World Cup despite concerns over his fitness after ankle surgery, the country`s cricket board said on Wednesday.
The mercurial Malinga had left ankle surgery in September and missed the team`s one-day series against India and England.
Malinga is expected to return in the later stages of the seven match ODI series against New Zealand, which starts in Christchurch on Sunday, and was included in the World Cup squad, subject to fitness, the Sri Lanka board said in a statement.
The 31-year-old Malinga, whose yorkers delivered with a sling-shot action at times makes him almost unplayable, will be crucial for Sri Lanka`s chances in the 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Fast bowler Shaminda Eranga was the only name missing from the 16-member squad that will play in the ODI series in New Zealand as a warm-up for the Feb. 14-March 29 World Cup.
The 2011 World Cup runners-up, who lost to India in the final, also included off-spinner Sachithra Senanayake, who was recently cleared to bowl after remedial work on his action.
The team will be led by all-rounder Angelo Mathews with left-handed batsman Lahiru Thirimanne as his deputy.
The island nation will play two warm-up games, against South Africa and Zimbabwe, before their opening match of the tournament against co-hosts New Zealand on Feb. 14.
Angelo Mathews (captain), Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Lahiru Thirimanne (vice-captain), Dinesh Chandimal, Dimuth Karunaratne, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Suranga Lakmal, Lasith Malinga (subject to fitness), Dhammika Prasad, Nuwan Kulasekara, Rangana Herath, Sachithra Senanayake.