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A little over a week after announcing his retirement from international cricket, Sri Lanka batter Bhanuka Rajapaksa has withdrawn his resignation and proclaimed his desire to represent the country for "years to come". His decision comes after his meeting with Sri Lanka's Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa.
"Pursuant to a meeting with the Hon. Namal Rajapaksa - Minister of Youth & Sports and after consulting with the national selectors, Bhanuka Rajapaksa has notified SLC that he wishes to withdraw his resignation which he tendered to SLC on 3rd Jan. 2022, with immediate effect," an SLC media release stated. "In his letter to SLC withdrawing his resignation, he further states that he wishes to represent his country in the game he loves for the years to come."
In a recent media release, the Sports Minister had warned the 30-year-old batter against coming to hasty decisions but also asked Rajapaksa to come forward and express his grievances if there are any.
While Rajapaksa had cited "familial obligations" as a key reason behind his resignation, there was speculation that his decision to resign was prompted by the new fitness requirements.
Having fallen out with then head coach Mickey Arthur over his lack of fitness last year, Rajapaksa worked on his fitness and fielding and found his way back into the national side, where he and Arthur eventually patched up their relationship. This month, SLC announced tougher fitness benchmarks starting from 2022.
Rajapaksa's resignation, which had also come alongside similar announcements from Angelo Perera and Danushka Gunathilaka (only from Test cricket), had prompted SLC to put out new guidelines for players choosing to retire from international cricket. It was understood that among the reasons behind the updated guidelines were concerns that several players may potentially be considering their international futures, especially in the context of new mandatory fitness requirements and the fact that franchise cricket tends to be more lucrative.