Sri Lanka dropped former captain Angelo Mathews and all-rounder Thisara Perera from the team’s squad. Niroshan Dickwella, the left-handed wicket-keeper batsman, has been named as Malinga’s deputy in the 15-member squad for the home series.
Sri Lanka last played a T20I series against South Africa in March this year, when it lost each of its three matches. Avishka Fernando, who scored his maiden international century at the ICC World Cup and followed it up with a match-winning 82 in the second ODI against Bangladesh, has retained his spot in the shortest format.
Senior all-rounder Thisara is the most notable absentee from the 15-member contingent.
All-rounders Angelo Perera, Dhananjaya de Silva and Priyamal Perera, wicket-keeper batsman Sadeera Samarawickrama and bowlers Suranga Lakmal, Jefferey Vandersay, Asitha Fernando and Kamindu Mendis, all of whom had toured South Africa, have been sidelined.
Visitor New Zealand will play a practice match followed by the first T20 international.