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Sanath returns only to retire

cricket Updated: Jun 10, 2011 02:09 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Sri Lankan cricket never ceases to surprise. On Thursday, just a few hours after veteran opener Sanath Jayasuriya was recalled to the national squad for the T20 and ODI series against England after spending a year in the wilderness, the left-hander announced that he would retire from all forms of international cricket after the only T20 and first one-day match of the England tour.

In a hastily organised press conference, Jayasuriya, who turns 42 on June 30, said he was retiring for "personal" reasons. "He hasn't told us anything. We didn't organize the press conference," said the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) media manage Brian Thomas.

While Jayasuriya was named in the 16-member squad, it's not clear if he would make it to the final XI.

The veteran opener had replaced opener Upul Tharanga for the only T20 and five-one dayers against England, starting June 25, and for the two one-day matches against Ireland and Scotland. Tharanga was pulled out from the side after testing positive for a banned drug after the match against New Zealand in the cricket World Cup earlier this year.

Jayasuriya's inclusion might look surprising, but there had been indications about his return for the last week or so. Reports in local newspapers suggested that he was eyeing, and possibly knew, a comeback. Speaking to Daily Mirror earlier in the week, he said: "I've been training as seriously as ever and I am as fit as I have been at 18. I had played T20 world championship, domestic cricket, trial matches before World Cup and the IPL. I was not away from the game. I am fit enough to play international cricket. The series against England is in my radar as of now."

Jayasuriya, who's a ruling party MP, 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.

The SLC has named T Kandamby as T Dilshan's deputy and paceman Lasith Malinga makes a return to the team after retiring from Test cricket last month.