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September 5, 2007
Upul Chandana, the former Sri Lanka allrounder, who announced his retirement from international cricket on Monday has lashed out at the national cricket selectors and denied any involvement with the Indian Cricket League (ICL).
In an emotional press conference held at the Nondescripts Cricket Club (NCC) pavilion on Wednesday, Chandana broke down in tears at the mention of his late father Somaratne Umaligiya, who passed away when he was only six.
Chandana said that he was forced to take the decision to quit from international cricket because of the politics that existed in team selections. Chandana said he had come to realise that however hard he tried and performed, he was not going to be selected to play for his country again. "I have not been considered even for a place in the Hong Kong Sixes side which goes to prove that the selectors don't want me in the national side.
"I am still physically fit and have no injuries. Equally, I have my performances to back me up for selection," Chandana said. I have still a lot of cricket left in me. But if I am not going to be selected to play again for my country I have to look at my future."
"After talking to my wife and a few other close friends I decided the best solution was to quit from international cricket and concentrate my energies elsewhere. I cannot get into the team by giving 100 % on performance. In my position I've always got to give 200 %.
"If a player is dropped the selectors should be fair with him and explain to him why he was left out. This way the player can rectify whatever shortcomings he has and try to perform better to earn selection," Chandana said. "This is not happening and any player dropped from the team is at a loss to know why he was not selected. No explanations are given and he is left to rue his future."
Chandana also said that he has not been invited to join the ICL, but he would always consider any offers that came his way even from England and Australia.
Chandana chose Arjuna Ranatunga as the best captain he had played under in his 13-year international career. "Arjuna not only won the World Cup for us, he was a captain who threw open the doors for outstation cricketers to get into the national side. Winning the World Cup in 1996 was the high point of my career. I am glad that I was part of that team."
Being a legspinner Chandana said that he benefited a lot learning the tricks of the trade from Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill and Anil Kumble whom he admitted always gave him useful tips in bowling.
Two of Chandana's close allies - former Sri Lanka cricketers Ruwan Kalpage and Champaka Ramanayake, said he had taken the right decision to quit. "When you play cricket there are good days and bad days and there comes a time when you have to decide your future. Upul, I believe has taken the decision at the correct time," Kalpage said.
Ramanayake, who was instrumental in bringing Chandana to Colombo from Galle where he was educated at Mahinda College, said: "If you do not derive any satisfaction from the game the best thing is to quit. Considering the circumstances, Upul has taken the right decision."
Although lost to his country, Chandana said that he will continue playing domestic cricket for NCC.
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