In a not so unsurprising announcement in the Sri Lankan context, the 46-year-old Sanath Jayasuriya said that he has planned to come out of retirement to play for Sri Lanka once again. The veteran left-handed batsman who also bowls a very canny slow left arm spin opined that with the newly elected committee headed by Thilanga Sumathipala willing to dole out chances to old but performing cricketers, he believes with performance under his belt he can be in the national colors soon.
“If a cricketer is 38 and among the runs, fit and fields well, he should be selected despite the age. If cricketers get the idea such as there’s no use of playing cricket after the age of 26-27, players will leave the domestic cricket at the early stages. We should change this pattern.”- Thilanga Sumathipala
Dilhara Fernando will be making his re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-entry into the national team in India in February and the selectors have backed the decision stating that even the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka failed 29 times and it was in his 30th comeback he could cement his position. If the administrators live by their words, a few swings of the willow could pave the way for Sanath Jayasuriya into the national team once again.
The ebony colored veteran is still fit and fitter than half of the national team. His hand-eye co-ordination, despite being on the wane, seems good enough to allow him to score at least twenty more than what half of the batsmen in the team have managed as a whole in the recent past.
Speaking to Cricket Machan, the Matara mauler said that Dilhara Fernando’s inclusion in the squad for the tour of India over youngsters with potential has given him the hope and inspiration to hit the nets back.
In the face of his batting diminishing, Jayasuriya’s bowling remains competent. With Sri Lanka struggling to find a proper spinner in the shorter versions of the game, Jayasuriya could, at least, land a few balls on the pitch and spin a few off it. As spinners in the ilk of Seekuge Prasanna and Sachith Pathirana, whose balls travel straighter than light, have got a chance to play as frontline spinners in the recent past, Sanath is certain about his possible role in the team as a bowling all-rounder.
The fielding of a 46-year-old is expected to be slower and weaker but comparing to what the national team has been offering in the past few months in the field, Sanath’s fielding skills are rest assured to be a tad better. At least, Sanath might be seen running after the ball in a genuine effort to stop it.
“I believe that I am fitter than most in the national team and despite becoming a politician I haven’t developed a pot belly. The team is in need of experience as evident from the inclusion of Dilhara Fernando in the squad for the tour of India and the resorting to Jehan Mubarak in tests after Sangakkara’s retirement,” said an exuberant Jayasuriya. “If the pattern is right, one of the players in the squad for the tour of India will get injured and I am hoping to replace him.”
The southpaw also barred no holds about his belief in his batting ability as he said, “The grounds have become smaller than nationalists’ brains. The pitches are as flat as the Sri Lankan economy. The bats are heavier than the taxes. I don’t think it will be difficult to send the ball into the crowd. I must say, sending flying kisses to the crowd is more difficult than sending balls these days.”
The former captain and selector would begin his net-practice next week and is expected to be ready for international cricket in another two weeks’ time. Unlike most of the youngsters in the team, Sanath still has a robust body and has been injury free for a very long time. His determination to play through injuries as evident from his mettle to play in the 2003 World Cup even after accruing a hairline fracture from Bret Lee’s blood-thirsty thunderbolts, is still extant in him.
With the podi-Sanath serving a ban, the return of the loku-Sanath might be a blessing for the team. Sources close to us stated that the probable decision to snitch the second T20I against India from Delhi is a conscious effort to stop the returning Sanath Jayasuriya wreak havoc on Indian bowlers once again. It seems Delhi is still recovering from the Post Traumatic Stress Order sustained after the round-robin game against Sri Lanka in the 1996 World Cup and our reporters from Delhi assert that the Delhiites are still in trepidation of the name Sanath Jayasuriya as stories of the nightmare he gifted to the Indian bowlers in 1996 have been passed on to the next generation by the still shell-shocked older generation.
With almost two decades having gone past since he re-wrote the history of Sri Lanka Cricket in 1996, the anointed one is back again to salvage the sinking Sri Lankan catamaran. With the youngsters playing cricket like skittish sheep, the old lion might be able to instill at least some fear on the oppositions and teach the kids in the Lankan team the spelling of “the Sri Lankan the brand of the cricket”. After all, an old lion is far better than a group of young and healthy sheep.
DISCLAIMER: This article is a work of fiction written in jest. Readers are advised to take this article with a pinch of salt.