Sri Lankan cricket November 9, 2004

Kaluwitharana retires from international cricket

Romesh Kaluwitharana: a trendsetter in one-day cricket © Getty Images

Romesh Kaluwitharana, Sri Lanka's pinch-hitting wicketkeeping batsman, has retired from international cricket in the aftermath of his ommission from a 20-man training pool for Sri Lanka's tour to New Zealand in December.

"I have decided to call it a day," Kaluwitharana told reporters. "I started my Test career on a high note with a century against Australia and I'm happy to end it with a half-century against Pakistan."

"Prior to the Pakistan tour I was thinking about retiring at the end of the year, but I'm still struggling with the wrist injury I picked up in Pakistan and having not been picked for New Zealand the time is right."

"There is a right time for everything in life and, although this is very emotional time and that I know I have more cricket left in me, I'm happy that this time has come," he added.

Kaluwitharana had made several previous comebacks to the national team, including a return to Test cricket last year when the selectors asked Kumar Sangakkara to concentrate on his batting, but with his 35th birthday approaching, he felt the time had come to bid farewell.

"I would like to thank everyone - family, team-mates, fans and friends - for all the support over the years and I wish Sri Lankan cricket all the best for the future."

Kaluwitharana was an extremely popular cricketer in Sri Lanka, loved for his perma-smile behind the stumps and his electric batting, especially his pinch-hitting exploits during the triumphant 1996 World Cup campaign, when he teamed up with Sanath Jayasuriya to help change the face of the one-day game.

But Kaluwitharana's high-risk approach contributed to a reputation for inconsistency and his final Test average of 26.12 in 49 matches, including three hundreds, does not do his obvious natural talent justice. In 189 one-dayers, he finished with 3711 runs, which included 23 half-centuries and 24 ducks.

Kaluwitharana is unsure about his future, but he hopes to continue his involvement with Sri Lankan cricket, although in what capacity he is currently unclear. For the time being though he will be concentrating on his job with the Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation.

Kaluwitharana, who captains his current club side, Colts Cricket Club, will retire from first-class cricket as well at the end of the season.