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Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara’s T20 retirement leads to heated email exchange with SLC

Sanath Jayasuriya condemned Mahela Jayawardane for his comments © IANS
Sanath Jayasuriya condemned Mahela Jayawardane for his comments © IANS

Apr 23, 2014

Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara’s T20 International retirement saga has now turned into an ugly altercation with Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC). During the ICC World T20 2014, the Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) expressed unhappiness about the players announcing their retirements without speaking to the board. On their return from Bangladesh, Jayawardene slammed the board and said he was disappointed with the way the SLC official went public.

In an exchange of emails, reported by Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, between Michael De Zoysa, the Sri Lankan manager, Sanath Jayasuriya and Jayawardene went at each other for the whole saga. Firstly, De Zoysa wrote to Jayawardene saying, “Whatever your feelings about certain people and theirs about you, you had no business to make the unsubstantiated comments you made that day. It was an occasion to celebrate a great victory and you and Sanga were honored to share the head table with the Captains You brought the Event, the Victory, SLC, and yourselves into shame and disrepute by your pettiness. If you are a gentleman you owe an apology to all concerned.”

In reply, Jayawardene clarified his stand and said that he wasn’t at fault. He also claimed to have spoken to Jayasuriya and another SLC official about the matter during the World T20 and decided not to speak about it until the end of the tournament. Jayawardene wrote, “The remarks I made was to a question that I was asked by the local media and you or the SLC media should have briefed them before it started. In Bangladesh you of all people agreed with me that comments made by CEO/secretary and Sanath was baseless and out of order and that I did not announce my retirement. You were the one who wanted me and Kumar to speak to Sanath and sort it out.”

But, perhaps the most hard-hitting statement came at the end o the email when Jayawardene wrote, “If at all it’s they who should apologise to me and Kumar and be more PROFESIONAL (sic) in handling things going forward.”

Jayasuriya said that he was in the dark about the retirement announcement and claimed that he honestly answered the questions to the press then. “The comment you have made about what I said was “baseless”, does not hold water as when like you I was asked by the media if I had been informed of your retirement. I honestly answered that,” Jayasuriya wrote while claiming that Jayawardene had not told the board about his intentions.

The emails went on with De Zoysa saying that Jayawardene had to apologise. He wrote, “What I said was you cannot assume what the paper says is said by them. The paper only quoted Sanath and Ashley actually defended you if you read the article properly.”

Jayasuriya then ended the email conversation by blaming Jayawardene for taking the sheen off a victorious moment. “What you cannot change is the fact that you took away what should have been a Glorious moment for the World Cup winning team by your actions at the post winpress conference,” Jayasuriya wrote.

He further explained, “Also bear in mind it was you who said it was to be your last T20 which to me means the same thing as your retirement. In which case it is quite high handed of you to assume that anyone else other than you had to keep the establishment and Selectors informed of your decision or sort any matters out.”

Jayasuriya ended the email by saying that Jayawardene should take responsibility for the whole affair.

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