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Samaraweera aims for county success

Sa'adi Thawfeeq

March 10, 2013

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Thilan Samaraweera made his second century in two Tests, South Africa v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Cape Town, 4th day, January 6, 2012
Thilan Samaraweera wants to succeed to pave the way for more Sri Lankan youngsters to get county deals © AFP
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Thilan Samaraweera, the Sri Lanka batsman who announced his international retirement earlier this week, is looking to make a career with English county Worcestershire before he eventually quits the game.

Samaraweera decided to quit Tests and ODIs after he was left out of the 15-member squad named for the first Test against Bangladesh but will continue to play first-class cricket.

"I want to do well for Worcestershire so that it will open the doors for other younger players from Sri Lanka to play county cricket," Samaraweera said. "I tried to get into the county circuit for the last five years but I couldn't because every county is focusing on signing up Australians and South Africans. I had a chat with coach Graham Ford in 2012 and it was largely due to his efforts that I got the county contract. I want to make the most of it."

Samaraweera said that it was former India batsman VVS Laxman who first got him interested in playing county cricket. Laxman played a couple of seasons for Lancashire, in 2007 and 2009. "When I met Laxman in Sri Lanka some years ago I spoke about getting to play for Lancashire. He told me that I should play county cricket because it improves your game as a professional and teaches you to take pressure and so on. Unfortunately I didn't get a break at that time. Now at this stage of my career I want to do well and pave the way for the youngsters."

Samaraweera, who leaves for England this week, said that he had no regrets quitting international cricket at the age of 36.

"I am happy the way I am leaving cricket although I have so many sad memories also. I was dropped three-four times in my career and every time they dropped me the selectors would say they want to bring a youngster in. They moved me around in the batting order often and the first player to get the chop from the selectors was always Thilan Samaraweera. I can't control that. But at the end of the day I am really happy with what I've achieved.

"I could have done better if I had scored 18-20 Test hundreds but when I started people never thought that I will end up playing 81 Tests and score over 5000 runs average nearly 50 and play in a World Cup final. When I started there were a lot of better players than me but I came to the top through sheer hard work and sacrifice. Hard work is the key word for me."

One of the blots on Samaraweera's career was the failure in his final international series, managing only 79 runs in six Test innings in Australia. "When the country needed me as a batsman in Test cricket I delivered but unfortunately people only remember the shot I played in my last innings at Sydney. It was a bad shot. When people meet me they always remind me about that shot. I was a bit disappointed playing that stroke. If we had another 70-80 runs it would have been another historical moment in our cricket. My dismissal and Angelo's (Mathews) run out was the turning point in that Test. But it happens in international cricket. You can go through bad patches in a series which you cannot help."

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Posted by goldeneye075 on (March 11, 2013, 17:58 GMT)

Thanks and good luck Thilan :-) Another bites the dusk due to politics, and few more legends to follow the same path !!!

Posted by   on (March 11, 2013, 0:46 GMT)

Best Wishes to playing County cricket and you can contribute cricking skills to Worcestershire............give your Best Service. Good Luck.

Posted by   on (March 10, 2013, 17:19 GMT)

I think he was determined to make amends for his failures in Australia and started the Premier League season in terrific style. The selectors could have given him Bangladesh series considering his service to the country mainly at test level. He would have done well in ODIs too if he was given a permanent middle order spot. All other big three were given opportunities to rectify their failures when they doing badly. Sanga failed badly in last England and NZ series. Mahela failed both in England and South Africa and Dilshan since making 193 in England until end of last England series in Sri Lanka. As a person with dignity and self respect he made the right decision to retire. I wish him well in English county cricket and hope he will get an extended run there until he finally retires from all forms of cricket.

Posted by PadMarley on (March 10, 2013, 15:32 GMT)

He was Sri Lanka's both VVS Luxman and Rahul Dravid! Best wishes to you Tilan.

Posted by KingOwl on (March 10, 2013, 15:07 GMT)

The best batsman for SL since 2008 in overseas tours. Played the seaming ball better than any other SL batsman. Had a bad tour of Aus. Bit of a shame, that one. But, we remember his great knocks in SA against a better attack than Aus attack. So, Thilan can hold his head high. Some people may talk about his final shot in that test. But I am sure the vast majority remember his contribution over the years. I hope Thilan has a good career in the county circuit.

Posted by Sinhaya on (March 10, 2013, 14:40 GMT)

I am really surprised as to why was he not used as an off spinner in tests cos he has a good bowling record in domestic matches.

Posted by OhhhhhMattyMatty on (March 10, 2013, 14:00 GMT)

Decent off-spinner and stout lower middle order batsman. Horrid technique in swinging conditions though! Caused Sri Lanka huge problems by giving up his off-spin, they'd have been a real handful with TS as the allrounder at 6!

Posted by   on (March 10, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

THILAN the unsung hero of Sri lankan test cricket....it was very disappointing to see your retirement at this moment...good luck for your future

Posted by   on (March 10, 2013, 12:22 GMT)

Hat off to you for your charming charisma, sportsmanship and most of all the way retire. All best in your county career!

Posted by   on (March 10, 2013, 12:21 GMT)

You have done enough for Sri Lankan test cricket. Well done true gentleman.. And good luck for the future.

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