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Sri Lanka left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has announced his retirement from limited-overs cricket in order to focus on the remainder of his Test career. Herath informed Sri Lanka Cricket of his decision to step away from the shorter formats in the past week, and the board has since accepted his decision.
"In the next eight months or so, we're scheduled to play something like 12 Test matches," Herath said. "I think retiring from the shorter formats is the right move, because that will allow young players to be groomed for the next World Cup, as well as lowering my workload and letting me concentrate on Tests."
Herath, 38, has played with injuries in both knees over the past few years, and was largely only picked for limited-overs cricket in the approach to, and in major tournaments, in which he has played a significant role.
He has 74 wickets from 71 ODIs, but will be remembered more fondly for his impact in T20 internationals. Herath played a key role in Sri Lanka's victorious 2014 World T20 campaign, delivering the side's spell of that tournament. His 5 wickets for 3 runs in a virtual quarter-final against New Zealand is arguably the best-ever T20 bowling performance. He was also effective in the semi-final and final of that tournament, and had also been incisive in the 2012 World T20 semi-final, against Pakistan, where he claimed 3 for 25. Overall, he has 18 T20I wickets from 17 matches.
"In T20, the two spells I remember fondly are my 5 for 3 against New Zealand, and the 3 for 20-odd against Pakistan at Khettarama," Herath said. "I haven't taken any five-wicket hauls in ODIs, but I bowled well in that tri-series final against India, in the Caribbean in 2013. I took 4 for 20 in that game, though we went on to lose. I also have good memories of the 2011 World Cup semi-final against New Zealand (he took 1 for 31)."
Most recently, Herath played in every match of Sri Lanka's recent 2016 World T20 campaign, and his retirement will leave the likes of Jeffrey Vandersay and Sachithra Senanayake vying to become the team's first-choice short-format spinner. Herath himself will shift focus to the three-Test series in England, in May and June, for which preparation begins on Monday.
"Sri Lanka Cricket wishes Mr. Herath nothing but the best as he continues to play cricket in his chosen discipline, and in all future endeavours," a board release said.