Sanath Jayasuriya likes to keep himself busy at all times, and that reflects in his batting as well. The explosive Sri Lankan opener scored the first runs and the first boundary of the second IPL to get the Mumbai Indians off the blocks in the opener against the Chennai Super Kings on Saturday.
In an interview with The Sunday Express, Jayasuriya talked about playing cricket at 39, and about his special bond with Sachin Tendulkar. Excerpts:
You are regarded as the pioneer of big-hitting in modern-day cricket.
• It’s nice to be identified as one of the players who started the trend. It’s my natural game and I don’t know any other way to play. I’ve made some adjustments but this attacking brand has been my staple diet. It has worked for me for years.
Who amongst the young crop do you rate as the best attacking batsman?
• There are quite a few players who have come up, but Gautam Gambhir has been really good. He’s succeeded in all formats of the game. There are some others as well who are considered big hitters.
You have been around for more than a decade in international cricket. At 39, how long is it before you call it quits?
• (Laughs) Don’t ask me how long. I don’t know the answer myself. As long as my body says I’m fine, I’ll keep coming back to bat. I try and take it series by series without looking at any specific period of time. It’s been going well so far, and I hope to carry on. And I’m not even the oldest player here.
But there is always the urge for a team to pack the side with youngsters.
• As you get older in cricket, your performance gets scrutinised more because there are a lot of youngsters pushing for your place. One has to keep performing and the margin of error gets reduced with time. But every team needs experience, there’s no alternative for it, and many teams have realised that.
You and Sachin Tendulkar are considered the world’s most dangerous openers of this era. How is it batting together?
• We speak to each other a lot, discuss how the delivery could’ve been played and how the bowler is doing. It may seem to the outside world that we’re trying to outdo each other by playing big shots, but our competition is against the other side. We just play our natural games. It’s been a great experience so far. We have a good understanding in the middle.