What made you join the ICL ?
It was a big challenge and an opportunity for me. I have never played enough T20 cricket. So, I just thought of challenging myself and my cricketing abilities. I want to continue playing cricket for another 2-3 years and maximize my talent. I also thought that the ICL would be an ideal opportunity to give back to the game.
What are your views on the various cricket boards' stand on the ICL ?
I don't think ICL should be blocked. It's provides a great opportunity to cricketers, young and old to improve on their abilities. If we call cricket a career, one should not be denied a chance to earn. Imposing sanctions on the ICL would be unfortunate, as you tend to stop income/revenue, exposure and the experience of playing with the top cricketers.
What made you retire all of a sudden ?
It was not a sudden decision I made. I always had a fair idea of when I should retire. I did not want to hang around in a system I didn't believe in and also, give opportunities to newer talent in Sri Lanka. And, half-way through my innings at Hobart, I knew that it was coming.
Did you retire out of frustration?
No. If I was frustrated, I would have left half-way through the World Cup.
What are your post-retirement plans ?
As I said, I want to continue playing cricket for the next 2-3 years, wherever it be. I will finish this tournament and then leave for Australia to play club cricket and also in the English summer, where I am scheduled to turn out for Lashings XI. Apart from that, I am in initial talks with Channel Nine over a commentary stint during the Triangular ODI Series in Feb 2008. I want to be involved with cricket for as long as I could.
You and John Dyson were instrumental in grooming Mahela as an international captain. Now that he is in the hot seat, what do you think about his captaincy ?
Mahela is doing well as a captain. It is always difficult for any captain to tour Australia. He has been growing into a really strong captain, with a great back-up in Kumar Sangakkara.
With the Golden Generation of Sri Lankans in their swansong, how difficult is it going to be for SL Cricket to replace them ?
It wont be easy. We have enough, if not more talent. But what is the use of having a lot of talent and not giving them enough opportunities ? We need to give them enough chances to establish themselves in the international level. And, you got to know what your future is.
What do you think about the state of school cricket in Sri Lanka ?
It was our feeder system to international cricket. But, since they have changed the rules, the school system has suffered. Since that happened, the game suffered and no good player coming through. The last batsman who genuinely broke through the schools was Farveez Maharoof. But I hope that they go back to the original system, else its just going down.
What about the selectors' remark ? Do you stand by it ?
Yes. I stand by whatever I said. If anyone feels that I have said something wrong, why don't they come up and let me know. I made that statement for the betterment of Sri Lankan cricket. I can only hope that the authorities were listening to what I said. I genuinely feel for the game in the country, and that's why I said what I had to.
What was the best innings you ever played ?
In one-dayers, I think the 132 not out at Lords in the Emirates Cup Final has to be right up there. It was indeed my best one-day knock. As far as tests are concerned, I'd pick the 200+ I scored against Pakistan at Kandy, simply because it came against the best fast bowlers at that time.
How do you look to give back to the game?
I want to give something back to the game, and Sri Lanka would be an ideal starting point. After all the game has given me everything that I am today.
Any regrets ?
No. Not at all. I have lived a perfect cricketer's life. Started off with five ducks in 6 innings and then to get 6 double hundreds was just great. I have to say I have been very lucky to represent my country for over 15 years.Very few coveted ones get that opportunity.