Mendis looks to rebuild Sri Lanka

COLOMBO - Sri Lanka's new cricket chief selector Duleep Mendis on Monday said he has to inject new blood into the national team after the recent World Cup defeat to India.

"Rebuilding is going to be the key in the coming months. Some things may not work, some tactics may pay off," Mendis told a packed news conference. Mendis and four past cricketers like Brendon Kuruppu, Don Arunasiri, Ranjith Madurasinghe and Chaminda Mendis, were appointed as selectors following the resignation of the previous team of selectors.

Veteran batsman Aravinda de Silva, who previously chaired the selection committee, quit last week after the team lost the World Cup final. Mendis, a former selector and administrator, said selectors were on the look out for a new crop of players from junior squads as a number of current players were ageing.

"Right now, the A-team is the most important feeder mechanism for the main team. Our job is to scout for talent to replace some of the older players as we face several tours in the coming months."

Sri Lanka's tours England in May for a series of Test, one-day and a Twenty20 game. It will be followed by tours of Australia, Pakistan and South Africa. Sri Lanka also host the World Twenty20 championships in 2012.

"Our cricket calendar is full in the coming months, but our task is also to build a pool to face the 2015 World Cup to be played in Australia and New Zealand."

Ahead of the England tour, selectors also have to name a captain and vice-captain. Mendis declined to name a favourite, but hard-hitting batsman Dilshan and young all-rounder Angelo Mathews are among the leading contenders.

"Be patient," Mendis said when pushed by reporters to name a few possible contenders for captaincy.

"We need at least a week to make the announcement."The burly right-hand former batsman said he was very surprised with Sangakkara and Jayawardene's resignations.

"I was very surprised with Kumar's resignation. Very surprised he wanted to quit captaining the one-day side too," Mendis said.