Home > News >

Sri Lankan cricket is in good hands, insists Mahela Jayawardene

Mahela Jayawardene ended his Test career with a win against Pakistan © AFP
Mahela Jayawardene ended his Test career with a win against Pakistan © AFP

By Kuldip Lal

Colombo: Aug 20, 2014

Sri Lanka are banking on young talent to see them through a transitional phase in Test cricket despite the departure of one batting great, another approaching retirement and an ageing spinner in the ranks.

Former captain Mahela Jayawardene, who ended his 17-year Test career on Monday following the 2-0 series win over Pakistan, said there was no cause for panic over the side’s immediate future.

The elegant 37-year-old insisted Sri Lanka had a good pool of young players who were ready to take over. ”When Murali (Muttiah Muralitharan) retired, people said we won’t win without him,” Jayawardene said. ”But we are still doing well. There are others who will do even better than us.”, he added.

Jayawardene, who will quit all forms of cricket after next year’s 50-over World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, is one only five batsmen to score more than 11,000 runs in both Test and one-day cricket, the others being Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and team-mate Kumar Sangakkara.

Sangakkara, who turns 37 in October, could also hang up his bat after the World Cup even though his excellent recent form suggests retirement is not his immediate concern. Both batsmen have already retired from Twenty20 cricket, bowing out after Sri Lanka’s victory in April in the T20 World Cup final.

Left-arm spinner Rangana Herath has been Sri Lanka’s leading Test bowler since record holder Muralitharan retired with 800 wickets in 2010, but at 36 he cannot be expected to go on much longer. Herath’s 23 wickets against Pakistan were the most by any bowler in the two-Test series and took his tally to 260 in 57 matches.

Sangakkara was forced to clarify his own plans after an exaggerated raising of the bat following his dismissal for 59 in the second Test against Pakistan. ”Waving the bat was just… I didn’t have anything in mind,” he told reporters. “We won’t be playing Test cricket in Sri Lanka for a long time, so I thought… I will take a decision about my future after the World Cup, after speaking to the national selectors.”

Sri Lanka have just one Test series — in New Zealand early next year — before the World Cup in February and March 2015.

The World Cup could also mark the end of the road for swashbuckling opener Tillakaratne Dilshan who quit Tests last year as well as sling-arm fast bowler Lasith Malinga who retired from five-day cricket in 2011. Sangakkara though is likely to leave the biggest hole.

The left-hander is the country’s number one Test batsman with 11,988 runs in 128 matches at an average of 58.76 with 37 centuries. Since January, he has made three Test hundreds, including a 319 and 221, besides eight half-centuries.

Former Test batsman and television commentator Russel Arnold warned selectors against expecting younger players to match the record-breaking feats of Jayawardene, Sangakkara and Muralitharan. ”Sri Lankan cricket can fall into a massive trap if it tries to match the numbers and qualities of these players,” Arnold said.

“We need to find players who can compete, and have a game plan for what we have, rather than look for immediate replacements.” In Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka already have a captain who has made rapid strides both as leader and frontline batsman as was evident from his 102 and 160 during the two-Test series in England in June, which the tourists won.

Under Mathews this year, Sri Lanka drew 1-1 against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates, won away series in Bangladesh and England, lost at home to South Africa before beating Pakistan on Monday. Sri Lanka are now fourth in the official Test rankings behind South Africa, Australia and England, and Mathews hoped his side will continue to climb the ladder.

“You can’t replace the seniors, but the important thing is to be as consistent as possible,” he said. “We have a good group who are learning all the time.”

Complete coverage of Mahela Jayawardene’s retirement from Test cricket

World T20 League 2014

Sep 22, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 23, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Raipur

World T20 League 2014

Sep 24, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Sep 25, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Bengaluru

World T20 League 2014

Sep 26, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Mohali

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 21, 2014  at Hyderabad

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 4 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 20, 2014  at Mohali

Perth Scorchers won by 6 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 19, 2014  at Raipur

NK won by 33 runs (D/L method)

Photos

KXIP vs Hobart Hurricanes, Match 2 CLT20 2014

Videos

Kane, Devcich praise each others knock

Live Cricket Score Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions CLT20 2014: KKR labour to 4 wicket win

CLT20 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) vs Lahore Lions (LL), Match 7: 5 key battles

Before Mitchell Marsh, Surinder Amarnath had hit sixes off last two balls to win a match in England

Kings XI Punjab vs Barbados Tridents, Match 5, CLT20 2014: Highlights

CLT20 2014: Mitchell Marsh stakes his claim for a spot in Australia’s ICC World Cup 2015 squad with late blitz for Perth Scorchers against Dolphins

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins Hobart Hurricanes Incheon Asian Games India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab Lahore Lions

CLT20 2014: KKR look to do well in atleast two departments, says Suryakumar Yadav

Michael Clarke dismisses suggestions of quitting one-day cricket

Northern Knights deny reports of Kane Williamson bowling left-handed to overcome ICC ban

CLT20 2014: Ben Dunk praises Aiden Blizzard for his match-winning knock against Cape Cobras

Sachin Tendulkar’s bat, tie and t-shirt auctioned for orphan children in Pune

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: CSK’s likely XI

Jalaluddin takes first ODI hat-trick

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) vs Dolphins, Match 8, CLT20 2014: Dolphins’ likely XI

Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2014: Kuldeep Yadav’s dramatic debut for Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) shows he is one for the future

Cape Cobras v Hobart Hurricanes CLT20 2014 — Highlights

Fan of the Day

Cyrus Irani

Cyrus Irani

770 Posts | 24 Fans

Italy 0 Costa Rica 1 Full Match Highlights and Goals Video: FIFA World Cup 2014 Match 24

Aamir Khan flaunts abs during ‘PK’ shoot

Subterranean base that humbled a superpower, reunited Vietnam

Yahoo acquires Bangalore-based startup Bookpad for Rs 50 crore

Upen Patel is the Best dressed contestant in the Bigg Boss 8 house!

Google in talks with Airtel to bring carrier billing for in-app purchases: Report

Shah Rukh Khan beats Salman Khan to win best abs poll!

Box office collection: Parineeti Chopra’s Daawat-e-Ishq races ahead of Sonam Kapoor’s Khoobsurat!

Merseyside Police investigate racist tweets directed towards Mario Balotelli after Manchester United jibe

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here