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Jayasuriya to retire after first England ODI

Sri Lanka cricket never fails to surprise. First, early today, Sri Lanka Cricket announced the return of veteran left-handed batsman and ruling party MP, Sanath Jayasuriya to the national team for the ODI series against England after he spent more than a year in wilderness.

cricket Updated: Jun 09, 2011 19:13 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Sri Lanka cricket never fails to surprise. First, early on Thursday, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) announced the return of veteran left-handed batsman and ruling party MP, Sanath Jayasuriya to the national team for the ODI series against England after he spent more than a year in wilderness.

But within hours, Jayasuriya himself made another announcement: he would retire from all forms of international cricket after playing the only T20 match and the first one-day international against England later this month. Without elaborating, Jayasuriya told a hastily organised press conference that he would retire for "personal" reasons.

When asked about the announcement, SLC media manager, Brian Thomas said: "he hasn't told us anything. The press conference wasn't organised by us."

While part of the selected 16 for the series, it was not clear whether he would indeed be part of the playing XI when the matches begin.

Jayasuriya had replaced opener Upul Tharanga for the only T20 and five-one dayers against England, starting June 25, and for the two one-day matchers against Ireland and Scotland.

The dashing opener, known for his furious shots on the off and ferocious pulls, will turn 42 on June 30 in the middle of the one-day series.

Tharanga was taken off the Sri Lankan national side after testing positive for a banner drug after the country's match against New Zealand in the ICC cricket World Cup in March.

Jayasuriya, an MP from Matara in Sri Lanka's deep south is a member of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa-led United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Lately, he was seen as a commentator, breaking into the occasional jig in the studio, during the last season of the IPL.

Jayasuriya's inclusion might have surprised some but could not be called entirely sudden. Reports in local newspapers earlier this week suggested that he was eyeing, and possibly knew about, a comeback.

Speaking to the Daily Mirror newspaper earlier in the week, he said: "I've been doing my training as seriously as I've ever done in my career and my fitness levels are as good as I've been at 18. I am prepared always and am confident of what I can do."

"I have been away from the game for eight or nine months hardly. I had played T20 world championship, domestic cricket, trial matches before ODI World Cup and IPL. I was not away from the game. I am fit enough to play international cricket," Jayasuriya was quoted by PTI.

"I am not talking about my future now. The series against England is in my radar as of now," said Jayasuriya, who is the only player to have scored in excess of 13,000 runs and capture more than 300 wickets in One-day Internationals.

In the 444 ODIs he played before this comeback, Jayasuriya made 13,428 runs at an average of 32 and a strike rate of over 91.

Jayasuriya retired from Test cricket in 2007 with 6973 runs in 110 matches at an average of 40. His left-arm spin also came in handy for his team and he picked up 98 wickets.

As for the rest of the team for the shorter versions of the game, T Kandamby has been named T Dilshan's deputy and paceman Lasith Malinga returned to the team after retiring from test cricket.