Jayasuriya vital for Lanka's WC squad: Wettimuny | india | Hindustan Times
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Jayasuriya vital for Lanka's WC squad: Wettimuny

Sanath Jayasuriya will be a "vital link" to Sri Lanka's 2007 World Cup campaign as a "match winner and a threat to the opposition", feels Sidath Wettimuny, the country's first Test centurion.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2006 17:30 IST

Sanath Jayasuriya will be a "vital link" to Sri Lanka's 2007 World Cup campaign as a "match winner and a threat to the opposition", feels Sidath Wettimuny, the country's first Test centurion.

"Sanath is definitely a vital player and vital link to Sri Lanka's team up to the World Cup in West Indies in March-April," Wettimuny told IANS in an interview here.

Wettimuny, who scored the historic Test century for Sri Lanka against Pakistan in Faisalabad in 1982, said the 37-year-old Jayasuriya had always been a match winner and would always remain so.

"He has always been a match winner. And the opposition fears his presence," said the 50-year-old former opener.

According to Wettimuny, Jayasuriya is fit despite his age.

"Often people talk about age in cricket. But Jayasuriya's fitness levels, I am told, is second to none in the team," said the cricketer who had played Sri Lanka's first ever Test against England in Colombo in 1982.

Jayasuriya retired a few months ago, but was recalled to the national team by the Asantha de Mel-led selection panel for the recent tour of England.

Although the left-handed batsman was not played in any of the three Tests, he played a role in Sri Lanka's 5-0 whitewash of England in the one-day series.

Jayasuriya was also in the team for the Unitech Triangular Series against India and South Africa, before the tournament was cancelled a few days ago because of security reasons and rains.

Wettimuny rued the "disappointing" pullout by South Africa from the series following a bomb explosion here that killed seven people Aug 14.

According to Wettimuny, the now-aborted India-Sri Lanka matches should have been held in Dambulla, a central Sri Lankan city about 150 km from Colombo, which has remained dry and sunny all these days.

The hurriedly arranged India-Sri Lanka three-match series was called off following persistent rain in Colombo.

The veteran cricketer is not happy with the frequent changes in Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), the game's regulating body in the island nation.

"There have been too many changes since 1996. Some of us former players met President (Mahinda Rajapakse) recently and we hope something will happen soon," he said, adding that he wished to have permanent office bearers.

At present, an interim committee is running the administration. "The frequent changes have affected the cricket infrastructure. As a result our youth will suffer."

Wettimuny, who is now into the clothing business, has been involved in cricket administration in the past and is not averse to taking up a position in the future.

"I will go in only when there is a mandate from the president, and will not get involved for the sake of getting involved."

Wettimuny played 23 Tests and 35 one-day internationals between 1982 and 1987. Later, he served as the International Cricket Council's match referee.

--Indo-Asian News Service

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