Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sanath still going strong : Veteran says age no barrier to continuing international cricket.


Sri Lankan veteran Sanath Jayasuriya insists he still has some cricket left in him as he approaches his 39th birthday.
Many thought the exciting left-hander's career was over when he was dropped for the one-day series against the West Indies in April after retiring from Test cricket in December.
Jayasuriya says that decision was the right one after he failed to hit a 50 in 20 innings, but he responded with some fine displays in the Indian Premier League last month.
His Tweny20 form has now seen him recalled by the Sri Lankan selectors and the former skipper will now play in the Asia Cup in Pakistan.
As he prepares for the one-day tournament, Jayasuriya insists that his age will not stop him from playing top level cricket, with his 39th birthday coming up at the end of June.
"I realise I still have cricket left in me, but the thing is to perform," Jayasuriya told Reuters.
"When you perform, age does not come into question.
"I accept I did not play well during the last six months. Getting 30s and 40s wasn't helping the team (and) they dropped me, which was quite alright."
Veteran
A veteran of 411 one day internationals, Jayasuriya was happy he returned to the side after quitting because of a row with selectors in 2006, but insisted he got the timing of his Test retirement spot on.
"I proved them (detractors) wrong, playing good cricket when I came back again," he added.
"Then I decided during the (2007) England test series that I should retire and make way.
I'm happy I did that on my own terms."
One of just seven men to pas 10,000 runs in international one day cricket, Jayasuriya hit 467 runs to help Sri Lanka to the 2007 World Cup final.
The 1996 World Cup winner could even equal Javed Miandad's record of six appearances at the tournament, but he insists he is not looking that far ahead.
With still three years until the 2011 World Cup, Jayasuriya knows that as soon as his performances drop, then his age will be mentioned as a negative factor.
"I am not thinking that far as yet," he said. "At the moment I am taking it series by series and let's see how it goes.
"You need a lot more training and dedication when you come to this stage. I'm working hard, I'll see what I do in the next few series and see how it goes.
"I need to keep my performance high all the time.
"When you are 38-39, you need to perform on all the tours, otherwise age will be spoken as a factor."
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