The physio and masseur of the Mumbai Indians team have to pay special attention to Sanath Jayasuriya. The Sri Lankan gets a good rubdown after practice and it's understandable because at 39, he is one of the oldest cricketers in international cricket.
Despite having relinquished his place in the Test XI to help youngsters, Jayasuriya continues to be a force in ODIs and T20. The following are excerpts from a chat with the Hindustan Times.
T20 was widely regarded as a young man's game. How does it feel to have hit that notion out of the park?
I'm very happy to see that many of the guys doing well are the experienced ones. For me, it's a lot of hard work to keep pace with this version of the game. Since I have to bat, bowl and field, it takes a big toll on the body. Apart from the physical hard work, there are mental adjustments as well. The fact that after so many years in international cricket, I'm still good for the new form of the game gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Apart from the physical hard work, what kind of mental adjustments does a senior player like you have to make?
It's not very different from what you do ahead of a Test match or a 50-over match. The only difference is there is no time to think. You have to take instant decisions and think really fast because everything around you is happening so quickly.
Non-cricketing elements form a major part of the IPL. Do you enjoy it?
That's mostly for the public. For us, it's a question of concentrating on the game like we do in any other competition.
But at the end of the day, we too enjoy the things which go on around the game. It's a nice experience to be part of the IPL because of these additional activities.
How different is it this time in South Africa compared to the way you spent your spare time in Mumbai last year?
I do miss the kind of stuff we used to do in Mumbai…going out with friends and explore what Mumbai had to offer.
But I watch a lot of TV, news from around the world in particular, which is taking up a lot of my time over here. I'm also very fond of Sri Lankan music and carry my CDs. That keeps me busy when I'm not playing or training.
How conscious are you of the fact that you have to constantly compete with youngsters?
It's not something that I think about. Working hard comes naturally to me and I don't think of the competition from youngsters as long as I'm doing what I should do.
From making it to the Sri Lanka team as a left-arm spinner to establishing yourself as one of the most feared opening batsman of your time, how do you look back at the journey?
It's been really nice and I'm proud of it. I come from Moratua which had nothing in terms of infrastructure when I grew up.
It was a journey which required a lot of hard work and in the end I've been rewarded for it. When I look back, I think how difficult it was and am happy to see that the hard work paid off in the end.