Sri Lanka in Australia, 2007-08 October 3, 2007

Atapattu unlikely for Australia tour

Cricinfo staff



Marvan Atapattu refused to have a chat with the selectors © Getty Images

Marvan Atapattu, the former Sri Lanka captain, is unlikely to make the team for the tour of Australia after refusing to attend a meeting with the selectors.

"I got an email from the CEO of Sri Lanka Cricket inviting me for a discussion at 5pm [on October 3]," Atapattu told Reuters. "The email said the selectors were going to be there too and I replied saying that I did not want to waste my time with a selection committee headed by Ashantha de Mel."

Following Atapattu's snub, de Mel, the chairman of selectors, told AFP there would be no further attempts to speak to him and Sanath Jayasuriya would be chosen instead

Prior to the scheduled meeting, de Mel had indicated that Atapattu would be recalled. "We need his experience in Australia," de Mel said. "He has the technique and temperament to stay at the crease. It will be very important for the two Tests against Australia. I will talk to him about his availability."

Atapattu did not play a single game in the World Cup in the West Indies, despite being in the squad, and was overlooked for the subsequent one-day series in Abu Dhabi against Pakistan. He then announced his unavailability for the home series against Bangladesh citing personal reasons and asked to be released from his central contract, sparking speculation that he might be linked to the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

Mahela Jayawardene, the Sri Lanka captain, had also supported Atapattu's inclusion and called on the selectors to find out whether he would be willing to commit to a tough series.

"We love to have him around," Jayawardene said. "He is a top class performer. For a fact I know that he still wants to continue to play cricket for Sri Lanka. He wanted to be released from his contract purely because he wanted to see other avenues in his career. The best thing would be to have a dialogue with him and find out what he wants to do."

Sri Lanka play two Tests in Australia in November and return for the tri-nation CB Series in February, also featuring India.