Karunaratne last played an ODI in the World Cup 2015. He has overall played only 17 ODIs, scoring 190 runs at an average of 15.83 with one half-century.
However, Karunaratne has got the role after leading Sri Lanka to a historic Test series whitewash in South Africa earlier this year when they won both the Tests. That was Karunaratne's first assignment as captain.
Karunaratne didn't make it to the Sri Lanka squad for the ODI series that followed. Instead, it was Lasith Malinga who led the side in the series that the hosts won 5-0.
Karunaratne has pipped other contenders - Malinga, Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal - for the job.
Sri Lanka will hope Karunaratne can help turn their fortunes around, for they have won only 11 and lost 41 ODIs in the last two years.
Karunaratne was in the news for wrong reasons recently, after being arrested for drunk-driving in Colombo.
First Published: April 17, 2019, 8:12 PM IST