Jayawardene to follow Sangakkara in T20 exit

March 18, 2014 - 8:58:15 am

DHAKA: Top Sri Lankan batsman Mahela Jayawardene (pictured),  said yesterday  he would retire from international Twenty20 cricket after this month’s World Cup in Bangladesh, days after a similar announcement from teammate Kumar Sangakkara.

In comments posted on the International Cricket Council website, the 36-year-old said he had taken the decision as he knew this tournament would be his last World Cup and he did not want to block a younger player.

“It makes more sense for a youngster to come into the mix and establish himself,” said Jayawardene, who has played 49 T20 internationals and scored a record 1,335 runs for Sri Lanka.

Jayawardene has appeared in all four T20 World Cups and was the captain of the side which lost in the final of the last tournament, at home against the West Indies.

The elegant right-hander did not say how much longer he intended to play on in Test matches or ODIs. 

He is the highest scorer in Test match cricket among current players, with 11,319 runs from 143 matches.

He is also the seventh-highest scorer in the history of one-day cricket.

Speaking at a press briefing in Dhaka yesterday Sangakkara expanded on his decision to quit the shortest form of the international game after the tournament which began in Bangladesh on Sunday.

“I don’t think it was a surprise.I think for a lot of people who analyse the situation they understand that it’s the natural progression,” Sangakkara, who is also 36, told reporters.

“Whether I announced it or not, this tournament would have been the last of my international T20s,” he added.

Sri Lanka, the world’s number one T20 side, are the favourites in Bangladesh -- especially after their recent victory in the Asia Cup.

They have been drawn against England, New Zealand and South Africa who are their first opponents in the tournament on Saturday in Chittagong.

Sangakkara, who has been in sparkling form recently, said he held high hopes for a team which has yet to win a World T20 trophy but has got to the finals twice.

“Everyone comes here to win the tournament, so that’s our ambition and that is how we prepared,” he said.

Asked about how Sri Lanka would cope after his and Jayawardene’s exits, Sangakkara said the “transition is going to be fine”.

“If you take the younger crop of batsmen, especially (Lahiru) Thirimanne and (Dinesh) Chandimal, I think they are more than capable of playing any format of cricket starting from now.”

“I think we are in very good hands, we’ve got a lot of talent.”AFP

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