Sri Lanka news March 17, 2014

Jayawardene to quit T20Is after World T20

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mahela Jayawardene, the former Sri Lanka captain, will retire from Twenty20 internationals at the end of the World T20. The news came a day after his team-mate, Kumar Sangakkara, announced the tournament will be his last in the format as well.

"The rationale behind retirement is pretty much the same as Sanga's," Jayawardene told Wisden India. "When it is clear that I can't see myself playing in the next ICC World T20, there wasn't much point in me occupying a spot. It makes more sense for a youngster to come into the mix and establish himself."

Jayawardene, 36, has played 49 T20Is to date, and is his nation's leading run-scorer in the format, having hit 1335 runs at 31.78, with a strike rate of 134.17. A technical purist for much of his career, Jayawardene introduced new strokes and an innovative outlook to his game to become arguably Sri Lanka's best T20 batsman. He had not played the reverse sweep for the first 10 years of his international career, but the shot is now among his most productive in limited-overs cricket.

"While I enjoy all formats of the game, and Test cricket is certainly the pinnacle for any player, the journey in Twenty20 cricket has been fascinating," Jayawardene said. "In many ways it helped me get back to my roots, to bat like I used to when I was a schoolboy, for the sheer love of playing attacking shots and expressing myself with full freedom."

Jayawardene is also revered among Sri Lanka's finest captains, and his record at the helm of the T20 side lays out his tactical prowess. In 19 matches under Jayawardene, Sri Lanka won 12, lost six and tied one. He had the reins during Sri Lanka's march to the 2012 World T20 final, having hit a crucial 42 on a Premadasa dustbowl in the semi-final, to propel his team there.

That his retirement came 18 years to the day since Sri Lanka won the World Cup, did not escape Jayawardene. Having lost two World T20 finals, he hoped his swansong would capture something of that 1996 spirit. "That was a big day for Sri Lankan cricket and no one at home will ever forget it. Every year we look back on that date with joy," he said. "Hopefully we can do something special here in this tournament as well. We always come into big tournaments such as this one with a view to showing the world what Sri Lanka is capable of. We take great pride in our performances and it's no different here in Bangladesh."

Jayawardene has taken more catches in international cricket than any other fielder, with 14 of those having come in T20s. He has one T20 century against Zimbabwe in Guyana, making him one of six batsmen to have hit a hundred in all three formats.

Jayawardene also shares a second-wicket partnership record with Sangakkara, having made 166 together against West Indies in 2010. Like Sangakkara, Jayawardene is expected to continue playing franchise-based domestic T20. While T20 retirement is the first step toward winding down his international career, he has indicated the 2015 ODI World Cup remains a goal, and that he will play Tests as long as form, fitness and motivation allow.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ESPN on April 5, 2014, 15:52 GMT

    If they really plan for country..... Y do they make issue on salary????? N quit without intimating to selectors..... Here it shows that they r giving more importance to money than country or passion for the game...

  • Ruwan on March 21, 2014, 3:45 GMT

    for me we are not missing him. he opens the doors for new comers and backing them up.a after arjuna backed murali n darmasena and so many mahela is the first to recon n preserve new comers .so he will be there with team. T20 is a youngsters game and it is the high need of hat talent. so the right decision at right time..

  • Navindra on March 19, 2014, 6:52 GMT

    Mahela one of the finest batsmen Sri Lanka has ever made. He filled the position of Aravida did in mid 80s to late 90s. He is good captain and true gentlemen unlike most of the cricketers nowadays. His decision along with Sanga is well judged and good for players like Thirimanne and Priyanjan/Chadimal have more responsibility in top order in T20s coming ups and groom themselves.

  • Sheethal on March 19, 2014, 2:50 GMT

    @ Eranga Abeygunawardana..It's Aravinda(mad max) who won the semi-final & final in the 96 WC for Srilanka not jayasuriya as you've mentioned!!! In fact Sanath failed in both the matches!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 12:21 GMT

    @Eranga, I don't know what you are trying to say from your comment. Sanath Jayasuriya is a legend, a great cricketer. We all know and accept that. But that does not make Mahela a less valuable player. You don't have be the number one for fans to miss you. Sangakkara and Mahela are good thinkers in the game, have contributed a lot and they deserve to be appreciated. This article about that and there is no need of comparison.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    In ODI, Jayasuriya has taken Sri Lanka into Two world cup finals and Won one for SL and only Sri Lanken to become the most valuable player of a WORLD CUP.Sanath Has won 11 Series Awards while Dilshan 5, Sanga 5 and mahela 4.

    Sanath has Won 48 player of the match awards( 2nd in the world ) while Aravinda 30, Sangakkara 26 , Arjuna 24 ,Attapattu 20 and Mahela just 19.

    When goes to ODI Centuries, Sanath has scored 28 ( 2nd in the world ) Centuries,Sanga 18,Dilshan 17 and Mahela just 15.

    Sanath Jayasuriya is the Second in the world who's been involved in most ODI wins for his country with 233 victories only second to the Ponting. Sanath Jayasuriya has scored the most runs in Asian cup by scoring 1220 runs at the average of 53.04 while Sanga 1075 at the average of 48.86 and Mahela has scored only 674 runs at the average of 29.30. So in Sri Lanka cricket history Sanath's performance is unmatched to anyone.

  • Kanishka on March 18, 2014, 11:14 GMT

    What most people don't realize is that SL has never been a team which depends on one or two individual performances to win matches unlike some other teams but a team performance. Hence even though many batsmen from SL don't have ODI avg above 40/50 we still manage to win consistently in big tournaments. Mahela is a prime example he is a great player because he is a big match player and more often than not performs rescue acts when SL need him whomever the opposition

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 9:43 GMT

    Aravinda Arjuna took srilanka into 1 WC final and won it. But Mahela and sanga took Sri Lanka into 4 WC Finals, Made a better Test team which was almost no 1 Ranked.(Unfortunately it was gone other way) , get education to youngsters, brought good youngsters into the team like Thiti Chandimal and Akila.. So I think Mahela and sanga have done better than enyone!

  • Rupert on March 18, 2014, 7:55 GMT

    Both Mahela and Sangakarra are not powerful hitters of the ball, but they have been invaluable for SL's T20 successes. BTW, those saying 'It does not matter, this is ONLY T20 cricket' I say it does matter. T20 is the future of international cricket. Geoff Boycott said in an interview some months ago that he doesnt see Test Cricket existing in another 15-20 years. ODI's will go the same way... In a fast moving World nobody has the time to sit through 5 Days or one whole day to see these formats. Even as an Olympic sport T20 is the best way to go.

  • Dummy4 on March 18, 2014, 6:59 GMT

    @Eranga, Though Sanga and Mahela couldnt do upto what Aravinda or Jayasuriya has done to the country, but Sanga and Mahela also have done something, that should be appreciated.

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