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Lanka President behind Sanath's return

It was because of Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse's intervention that the opener decided to come out of his Test retirement.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 18:13 IST

It was because of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse's intervention that flamboyant opener Sanath Jayasuriya decided to come out of his Test retirement and is now all set to join the side touring England, according to media reports.

Former Test player Sidath Wettimuny told The Times that though Jayasuriya was summoned by chairman of selectors Ashantha De Mel, it was actually Mr Rajapakse's wish that made possible Jayasuriya's inclusion.

Jayasuriya, Sri Lanka's most capped player, is on his way to bolster the Lankan line-up in the second Test match to be played at Edgbaston from Thursday, the daily said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's World Cup winning captain Arjun Ranatunga, now a deputy tourism minister, apparently did not like Jayasuriya's recall even though the decision was ratified by Mr Rajapakse.

"I do not believe reports that the minister of sport and the president have been involved in the recall of Jayasuriya but, if they have, then they have made the wrong decision for Sri Lanka cricket," Ranatunga was quoted as saying by The Guardian.

Not sparing De Mel either, he said, "If I was still captain and I heard that a player had been brought out of retirement to join the squad, I would have gone home."

"I am not blaming Mahela Jayawardene at all but he is captain and he does not know what is happening. Cricket is the most important thing in Sri Lanka. This is a national issue.

"There is a lot of panic about and it is not the Sri Lankan team that is panicking, it is the chairman of selectors. This squad was chosen by the previous selectors and their choice should have been honoured," he added.

First Published: May 13, 2006 13:25 IST