Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya, who turned 40 on Tuesday, has said he wants to carry on until the 2011 World Cup. "I would love to. I am taking each series at a time. Hopefully I will get there. Age is not a problem, it is how you stay mentally and physically fit to remain on top of the game, to try out new variations in the bat and ball," Jayasuriya told AFP.
The hard-hitting batsman, who also bowls left-arm spin, made his one-day debut against Australia in Melbourne in 1989 and was impressive as an allrounder during Sri Lanka's victorious World Cup campaign in 1996. He is the second batsman after India's Sachin Tendulkar to pass 13,000 runs in ODIs and also holds the record for being the oldest batsman to score a one-day century, at 39 years and 212 days against India in Colombo.
"I don't really worry about records any more these days," Jayasuriya said. "I focus on putting runs on the board, to help the team win matches."
Jayasuriya retired from Tests in 2007, but continues to shine in the shorter versions of the game. He scored freely during the recent World Twenty20 in England where Sri Lanka finished runners-up, and ended as their joint second-highest run-getter with 177 at 25.28.
He said the emergence of talented young players meant he could never take his place for granted in the national team. "Playing with youngsters is extra hard these days," Jayasuriya said. "There is an abundance of raw talent constantly knocking at the door for a berth in the team. And that puts pressure on me. I have to perform to retain my place."
Jayasuriya, who captained Sri Lanka from 1999 to April 2003, knows that life is not easy for youngsters either. "They also need to live up to expectations, sometimes the pressure on them is much more than what it was when I was starting out."
Jayasuriya announced his retirement in 2006, but made a comeback during Sri Lanka's tour of England in the same year. His next outing will be the home series against world Twenty20 champions Pakistan, who will play five ODIs and a Twenty20 game after the three-Test series that begins on July 4.
"Pakistan has variety in batting and bowling and we are also working on a few things. Let's see, it should be an interesting contest," Jayasuriya said.
Source : Cricinfo
He is in his 20th year of international cricket and is still the evergreen Jayasuriya who enjoys hitting the ball around and conveying this enjoyment to spectators and a worldwide TV audience.
Surely this is the main reason that still keeps him going long after his contemporaries have ridden off into the sunset
Jayasuriya on the other hand shows no signs of calling it a day. Why, only earlier this month he played a notable role in Sri Lanka making it to the title clash of the Twenty20 World Cup and will no doubt figure prominently in next month's ODI home series against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka just cannot take the field without him in the abbreviated forms of the game.
A decade ago Jayasuriya was the most feared batsman in the one-day game intimidating bowlers even as he walked jauntily to the crease. Not much has changed since then and the Peter Pan of cricket just carries on.
The tally of runs and centuries against his name just keeps bulging and his average and strike rate keeps getting better.
Jayasuriya made his ODI debut in December 1989, just a few days after Sachin Tendulkar played in his first such game. Today he is well past the 400 mark - in fact he was the first to play 400 ODIs and he has since been joined by Tendulkar.
He has retired from Test cricket but there is no indication that he will be quitting the limited overs scene. Why should there be any such talk when he is batting as fluently as ever.
The secret behind Jayasuriya's successful career is that he is still young at heart. That's why even as Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and Tendulkar all a few years younger have opted out of Twenty20 internationals, Jayasuriya is still very much around to regale audiences.
It is a tribute to Jayasuriya's skill, enthusiasm and fitness levels that he has lasted so long and like good wine, seems to be getting better with age. Why, his birthday century last year came up off only 55 balls the sixth fastest in ODIs. Certainly the end of his career is nowhere in sight as yet.
He did in fact announce his retirement a couple of years ago but almost immediately retracted his decision.
Which was just as well for Jayasuriya has still much to contribute to the cause of Sri Lankan cricket and has still much by way of providing entertainment to spectators and the TV audiences all over the cricketing world.
'The Matara Mauler' has lit up one-day cricket at the highest level ever since his power-hitting at the top of the order enabled Sri Lanka to win the 1996 World Cup.
Innumerable have been Jayasuriya's notable feats in the shorter version of the game - still the fastest 50 (off 17 balls), a century off 48 balls (the fifth fastest), the highest partnership (with Upul Tharanga) of 286 for the first wicket, the only player to complete the double of 10,000 runs and 300 wickets, the second highest individual score along with Vivian Richards (189), second behind Tendulkar in the list of run getters (over 13,000) and century makers (27), a still impressive career strike rate of 91.
Remarkably he has also been an outstanding player at the Test level - the second highest run getter for Sri Lanka with just under 7000 runs at a pretty impressive average of 40 coupled with a bag of almost 100 wickets.
In the new millennium as players like Adam Gilchrist, Shahid Afridi, Andrew Symonds and Virender Sehwag have upped the career strike rate to anything between 92 and 111, Jayasuriya achieving the status of elder statesman has stayed in the background.
But he remains dizzily dangerous and no bowler or captain can take his challenge lightly as his recent exploits in the Twenty20 World Cup underlined.
One wouldn't be surprised if he was still around till the 2011 World Cup.
Matara Marauder' Sanath Jayasuriya had a rather sedate start to his international career, and based on his first few visits to the crease, it would have taken a brave man to bet that this southpaw would go down as one of the legends of modern cricket.
Jayasuriya's 'pinch-hitting' suddenly changed the way teams approached the start of a One-day innings. From the sedate, Jayasuriya changed it to supersonic. If the bat in the hands of Jaysuriya was a like magic wand, the ball in his spinning fingers spun a web of deception. Ranatunga and many other Sri Lankan captains used his left-arm spin in the middle-overs and also in the death.
Source : MSN
SANATH JAYASURIYA the cricketing world by storm with his unusual array of shots in the early nineties. He taught his contemporary batsmen to go all out in the first 15 overs and tear the opposition bowling attack. With Romesh Kaluwitharana, he formed one of the most destructive opening pairs of the world and virtually snatched the 1996 Wills World Cup, making Sri Lanka the eventual World Cup winners. His slow left-arm marked the death knell for many batting barons all over the world. A fierce competitor on the field with his willowing and bowling blitzkriegs, he is equally gentle and friendly off it. He is none other than Sanath Jayasuriya, one of the greatest modern stalwarts of the amazing game.
Known for his trademark cuts and pulls which rattled the most persevering of bowlers, he is the one who always goes by his instincts rather than the cricketing grammar book. A large number of cricketing pundits including maestro Greg Chappell are of the opinion that, on his day, he is the most dangerous batsmen for any opposition and can turn around the game in a jiffy. Having been the premier match winner for Sri Lanka for over a decade and a half, he is still going strong and there are few who doubt his abilities even today. The fact that Sri Lanka has gone on to win more than 80 per cent of the matches whenever he scored more than fifty, testifies to the amazing prowess of this diminutive left-hander.
He follows a simple and uncomplicated philosophy towards batting, which is - if the ball is in his zone he will hit it come what may. Dry and arid statistics cannot summarise his contribution towards the development of Sri Lankan cricket. He virtually brought out cricket from shambles in his country. He unified a country eternally reeling under racial conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. He was the one who gave the much needed conviction to his team mates, that even Sri Lanka can be part of the big league. He was selected as one of the Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1997 when he was at the peak of his form and served as captain of the Sri Lankan team in 38 Test matches from 1999 to 2003. This period was one of the most fruitful stints in Sri Lankan cricket.
He is an extremely valuable all-rounder with an awesome batting average in both Test and One Day International cricket. But the plus point of his batting is his ability to maintain the strike rate according to which he scores his runs.
Making his debut in ODIs against Australia in the 1989-90 season, he attributes his success to the mentoring he got from Arjuna Ranatunga, the former World Cup winning skipper of the island nation’s cricketing team and a very good batsman in his own right. He eventually went on to become the highest run scorer for Sri Lanka in both versions of the game and he is currently in pursuit of T20 glory.
There is little room for doubt that he could be one of the trump cards for Sri Lanka in the coming ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 in Asia. Although he has retired from Test cricket on account of his age, he remains as agile as he was at 20 in the two shorter versions of the game.
Hats off to you, Sanath Jayasuriya!
Happy 40th Birthday !!!
COLOMBO: Sri Lanka's veteran batsman Sanath Jayasuriya turns 40 on Tuesday, with a vow to carry on until the 2011 World Cup despite his being the oldest cricketer still playing at the top level.
"Age is not a problem, it is how you stay mentally and physically fit to remain on top of the game, to try out new variations in the bat and ball," Jayasuriya said.
The dashing batsman, who also bowls left-arm spin, made his international debut against Australia in Melbourne in 1989 and won praise as an all-rounder during Sri Lanka's victorious World Cup campaign in 1996.
Jayasuriya is only the second batsman after India's Sachin Tendulkar to pass 13,000 runs in One-Day Internationals. He is also the oldest batsman to score a one-day century, at 39 years and 212 days.
"I don't really worry about records anymore these days," the left-hander said. "I focus on putting runs on the board, to help the team win matches."
Jayasuriya retired from Test matches in 2007, but continues to shine in the physically challenging shorter version of the game, determined to prove he has a few more miles left on the clock.
The short but powerfully-built batsman is virtually unstoppable when on song, and scored freely during the recent World Twenty20 in England where Sri Lanka won six successive matches before losing to Pakistan in the final.
Jayasuriya said the emergence of talented young players meant he could never take his place for granted in the national team.
"Playing with youngsters is extra hard these days," said the all-rounder who led Sri Lanka from 1999 to April 2003.
"There is an abundance of raw talent constantly knocking at the door for a berth in the team. And that puts pressure on me. I have to perform to retain my place."
However, he added, life is not easy for younger players, either.
"They also need to live up to expectations, sometimes the pressure on them is much more than what it was when I was starting out," he said.
Jayasuriya announced his retirement in 2006, but made a comeback during Sri Lanka's tour of England that year.
Now he does not talk of quitting and Sri Lankan skipper Kumar Sangakkara said he has left the decision with Jayasuriya.
"Sanath is a match winner and as long as he's fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him in the side," said Sangakkara.
"He has won us a lot of matches and I am sure he will win a lot of games as well for us in the future."
Asked if he will play the World Cup to be held in the sub-continent in 2011, Jayasuriya said: "I would love to. I am taking each series at a time. Hopefully I will get there."
His next outing will be against World Twenty20 champions Pakistan, who will play five One-Day Internationals and a Twenty20 game after the three-Test series that starts in Sri Lanka on July 4.
"Pakistan has variety in batting and bowling and we are also working on a few things. Let's see, it should be an interesting contest," said Jayasuriya.
Source : TOI
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The World T20 reaches its climax today, with a dominant Sri Lankan side taking on an impressive Pakistan. Sri Lanka was my pick right from the start, and their comprehensive route to the final is no surprise at all.
They have played exceptional cricket and each and every player has put in a complete effort. Tillakaratne Dilshan had a fantastic IPL and he has carried his form here.
Dilshan and veteran Sanath Jayasuriya have been the best opening pair, and Sri Lanka needs both of them to fire. One of these two has always batted till the end when set, as we saw with Dilshan in the semifinal against West Indies.
Sri Lanka’s two fine spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis have troubled quite a few batsmen, although Lasith Malinga is another unsung match-winner.
I got to take my hat off to Younis Khan and his men, as reaching two consecutive World T20 finals is nothing short of a phenomenal effort.
Shahid Afridi has been in terrific form with the ball and his batting seems to have clicked as well. If he is able to replicate his performance from the semifinal, we could be in for another upset.
In all probability, Sri Lanka should walk away with the title, as they have dominated this competition.
Source : Hindustan Times
Monday, June 15, 2009
Just over three months ago, the Sri Lankan cricket team were being shot at in their team bus on their way to the Gadaffi Stadium.
Dealing with the trauma of March 3 would have been hard enough, but the team landed in London right in the middle of protests against alleged war crimes back home, where the Lankan army recently crushed the LTTE resistance.
Under the circumstances, it can’t be easy playing cricket. Under the circumstances, it’s only cricket that provides relief.
Sri Lanka beat the West Indies by 15 runs at Trent Bridge on Wednesday, their second comprehensive win on the bounce having thumped Australia by six wickets in their opener. “It’s been hard. These wins showed our character,” Sanath Jayasuriya said after the game.
Having not played together for a while, not many gave them a chance. Having lost to South Africa in the warm-ups, after they had only just managed to scrape past Bangladesh, they were expected to slink out of the group of death. Instead, with two big wins, they’re looking like strong contenders for a spot in the semis.
For the Lankan team, this event is an opportunity to reduce the hurt, and they’re intent on making the most of the painkillers.
“It felt odd getting into a team bus again to go from the airport to the hotel,” Sangakkara had said after the team landed in London, amidst high security. “For the team, the only thing that matters is the cricket,” he had said after the team bus had been blocked by protestors on their way to the ground the day they were to play Australia. There were protests against the government and the army at each of their practice games as well, but Kumar Sangakkara’s team have managed to ignore most distractions.
“The thing we’ve realised after Lahore is that life goes on.”
On Wednesday, they were in control right through the 40 overs of cricket, thanks in no small measure to a blistering 47-ball 81 from Jayasuriya, the tournament’s oldest player (he turns 40 at the end of this month).
At the other end, Tillakaratne Dilshan played like he has done for the past couple of months — lots of power-hitting, lots of cheeky dabs, lots of entertainment, finishing with 74 of 47 deliveries.
The duo put on 124 runs in just over 12 overs as Lanka piled on an intimidating 192 in their 20 overs.
Source : Indian Express
Friday, June 12, 2009
When Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya made his debut in 1989, there were no mobile phones in India. There were no malls, no laptops, no SRK and no IPL. Cricket was a simple game then and Sanath Jayasuriya only made it simpler. He believed in a straight forward maxim: See the ball, hit the ball. Twenty years later, he still believesin that maxim. Only, he’s added another one: That age doesn’t matter as long as you are good. ‘‘So long as you are playing well and performing well, I’m not too worried about age. We have got very good trainers and physios and I work hard with them and the youngsters,’’ Jayasuriya said after scoring 81 in 47 balls and guiding Sri Lanka to a comfortable victory over Ireland at Trent Bridge on Wednesday.
While Jayasuriya was throwing caution to the wind, his opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan was doing his best to take the limelight away from him by scoring 74 in 47 balls. Surely, it must have brought back memories of the 1996 World Cup when Sanath Jayasuriya partnered Romesh Kaluwitharana to send opposition captains on a hunt for aspirins. How does Dilshan compare with Kaluwitharana? ‘‘He has been playing really, really well and it gives you confidence at the other end. I just have to concentrate on playing well and I played my own game today,’’ he said.
His individual game was all about peppering the boundaries on Wednesday, just like he used to during his heydays. Had he been 20 years younger or had the T20 format been introduced during his glory days, this Lankan could well have broken many records. Does he regret that? ‘‘I’m still enjoying the T20 format,’’ Jayasuriya said, laughing, ‘‘It’s really good. You need to be really fit and train really hard and work really hard at your game. I’m happy to get this opportunity at this stage of my career. It suits me because I always play attacking cricket,’’ he said.
When I was a kid, they used to say about Sunil Gavaskar that the moment he played the on-drive, opponents knew that they were in for a long day in the field. Jayasuriya too has his favourite strokes. When did he realise that Wednesday could be his day? ‘‘I think the stroke I played in the second over, the extra cover drive. That was a perfect stroke and I realised that I was hitting the ball really well and today could be my day. If the ball is in my area and my zone I always hit it hard,’’ he said.
West Indies skipper Chris Gayle had recently commented that he was surprised that no one else has broken his record of scoring a 100 in a World Cup. Jayasuriya had a chance but tried a switch hit and was out leg-before. ‘‘Everyone was thinking about that today. But my thinking was to get more runs on the board. It’s a bit disappointing. What you want is for someone who is set to bat for 20 overs. Unfortunately I got out. If I had batted 20 overs, I would have scored a century. At the end of the day what we want as a player and team is to win the game,’’ the former captain said.
This legend of Sri Lankan will be turning 40 this June 30th, and we all hope he'll celebrate his birthday in style winning T20 WC for Sri Lanka. All the best Sanga & Co.
Veteran Sanath Jayasuriya insisted his age is no concern after cracking a match-winning 81 in his side's World Twenty20 Group C victory over West Indies at Trent Bridge.
The opener turns 40 this month but looked as sprightly as ever as he belted 10 fours and three sixes in his side's 192 for five. The Windies managed 177 for five in reply, with Jayasuriya also bowling three overs, including the first of the innings.
"I'm doing perfectly well and that's the only thing for me. There is no worry about my age, you just go out and play," he said. "It suits me like that because my natural game is attacking cricket."
He added: "I enjoy these Twenty20 games and it's been really good to play in them. You need to be really fit and work very hard on your game so at the end of my career I am very happy to have the opportunity.
"It's really hard work though and it's tough to keep up with these youngsters!"
Jayasuriya also believes his enjoyment of the game has been partly down to his inventive opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan, who added 74 in 47 balls at the top of the order, with a series of improvised paddles and sweeps.
"Dilshan has been playing really, really well," he said.
"It shows good confidence when you can play that way. With the way he is playing, I know I can just play my game.
"That's a big advantage to us. When you see him playing some of those shots I can't even believe it standing at the other end. It's nice to see him doing that and I get confidence from it.
"I can't play shots that are improvised that much though; I don't even think about it. When I got out I thought about playing some right-handed shot but I can't do that, that is for Dilshan only. He never fears playing his own shots."
Source : The Press Association
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has backed veteran Sanath Jayasuriya to feature at the next World Cup.
Jayasuriya, 40 later this month, crashed himself back into form ahead of the Super Eight clash against Pakistan at Lord's, with 81 from just 47 balls against West Indies.
Having arrived at this tournament in poor form, it was a perfectly-timed return to prominence for the explosive left-hander.
Jayasuriya retired from international cricket in 2006 but almost immediately reneged on that decision and his worth is still acknowledged by his colleagues 20 years after his debut.
"We have a World Cup coming up in 2011, so the decision is ultimately his," Sangakkara said.
"We are just happy to have him because he has won a lot of games for us, and I strongly believe he is going to win a lot more. Can he make the World Cup? Why not.
"He can keep going as long as he is fit. In Sri Lanka we are trying to move away from talking too much about age and potential and moving more towards about performance.
"It doesn't matter how old you are, in my view. If you are fit, scoring the runs and taking the wickets and doing the work at training, those are the people that are key when it comes to building a side.
"Because they can be a great example for youngsters coming in or even watching the game.
"They see how well these guys prepare and how much hard work goes into becoming a good player."
Jayasuriya struggled in the warm-up matches and was not at his ferocious best in the second season of the Indian Premier League, so his innings of 10 fours and three sixes, was well received by the Sri Lankans.
"As a unit we have never had any questions about what Sanath can do," Sangakkara added.
"We have seen it for years and we were just waiting until he worked his way into the tournament.
"It was great for his confidence, and for that of the team in general, that he got the runs he did.
"The manner in which he got them was very encouraging: we want him to feel comfortable and not worry about having to do anything special other than just be himself and be a part of our side.
"We want him there, we think he's a matchwinner and as long as he is fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him."
Sri Lanka face Pakistan for the first time since being targets in the Lahore terror attacks in March.
LONDON — Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara wants star batsman Sanath Jayasuriya to carry on playing for just as long as he can after the veteran opener proved age was no barrier to success at the World Twenty20.
Aged 39 and the oldest player in the tournament, left-hander Jayasuriya ended a brief run of indifferent form with a sparkling 81 in Sri Lanka's 15-run win over the West Indies at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Both sides were already through to the second phase Super Eights but the bonus for Sri Lanka was to see Jayasuriya, whose innings featured his trademark cuts for six over point, look back to his best in a stay of just 47 balls.
Jayasuriya called time on his Test career in 2007 but his latest knock was proof that the man whose aggressive batting revolutionised the one-day game during Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup triumph, remains a potent forced in limited overs cricket.
"As a side, we have never had questions over what he can do," Sangakkara told reporters at Lord's on Thursday. "We were just waiting till he made his way into the tournament.
"It's great for his confidence and the team's confidence. He got the runs that we needed and the manner in which he got them," the wicket-keeper/batsman added.
"We need him to play the way he has played for years now.
"He's a match winner and as long as he's fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him. He'll be 40 soon. The decision is finally his.
"We are happy to have him in the side. He's won us lot matches and I am sure he will win a lot of games as well for us in the future.
"It doesn't matter how old you are," Sangakkara stressed. "In my view, if you are fit, scoring runs taking wickets and doing the hard work at training, that's what we require."
Sri Lanka, unbeaten at the tournament so far after wins over Australia and the West Indies, begin their second phase Super Eights programme against Pakistan at Lord's on Friday.
Source : AFP
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has told Sanath Jayasuriya to continue his return to form against Pakistan in their Super Eight game on Friday.
Jayasuriya struck 81 off 47 balls in the win over West Indies on Wednesday.
"As a side, we have never had questions over what he can do," said Sangakkara. "We were just waiting till he made his way into the tournament.
"It's great for his confidence and the team's confidence. We need him to play the way he has played for years now."
Jayasuriya's powerful batting helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup in the 50-over game.
The 39-year-old has retired from Test cricket but is still going in the shorter form of the game and is the oldest player at the World Twenty20.
"He's a match winner, and as long as he's fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him," added Sangakkara. "He'll be 40 soon. The decision [to carry on or not] is his.
"We are happy to have him in the side. He's won us lot matches and I am sure he will win a lot of games as well for us in the future.
"It doesn't matter how old you are. In my view, if you are fit, scoring runs taking wickets and doing the hard work at training, that's what we require."
This will be the first time the two countries will have played since armed terrorists opened fire on the Sri Lanka team bus in March in Pakistan.
Sangakkara added: "Lahore is Lahore and that's in the past. We are here to play a fresh game of cricket."
Source : BBC Sport
Sanath Jayasuriya is less than three weeks short of his 40th birthday, but age isn’t weighing him down.
If anything, the oldest cricketer from a Test-playing nation (Canada’s Sunil Dhaniram is already 40-plus) showed yet again, against the West Indies on Wednesday, that he’s as hungry as ever.
Jayasuriya interacted with the media after his mind-blowing 81 (off only 47 balls). Afterwards, he briefly spoke to us separately.
The following are excerpts
Age not being a factor for him
(Laughs) You don’t have to worry about age as long as you’re playing well and performing... We’ve got good physios and trainers as part of the support staff.
Realisation that Wednesday was his day
When I played the cover drive in the second over... Was a perfect shot... If the ball is in my area or my zone, then I’ll hit it hard.
Going after Fidel Edwards
He’s their key bowler, but had an off day.
Seeming to enjoy T20
I am, yes... It suits my natural game, which is to play attacking cricket... Of course, one must be fit to keep pace with the younger players.
Whether he would advise his Mumbai Indians’ captain Sachin Tendulkar to take back his retirement from T20 Internationals
It’s not for me to advise Sachin.
Missing out on a hundred
Definitely a bit disappointing, but I was looking at more runs for Sri Lanka not so much at a possible hundred... But, yes, when a batsman is set he should bat for the full 20 overs...
Tillekaratne Dilshan as an opening partner
Oh, he’s playing really well... I didn’t have to do anything different, just play my natural game. I can’t improvise like him, though.
Whether his 124-run partnership (12.3 overs only) with Dilshan reminded him of his sensational association with Romesh Kaluwitharana in the mid-Nineties
Well, yes... One always remembers those days... One looks to continue batting in the same manner.
Impact made by Ajantha Mendis
There are times when even we can’t read him at nets... He’s one of the great spinners.
Spinners striking it rich in the World T20
I think the success of our spinners is due to the variations they possess... Not that the wickets have been turning a lot.
Opening the bowling against the West Indies
We try to do different things... The call was the captain’s.
The IPL experience
Those who played have gained... Unfortunately, the Mumbai Indians didn’t do well... The top-order didn’t perform consistently and we’ll have to improve in the next edition.
Looking ahead to the Super Eight matches
We’ll be taking it match by match... For now, our focus is on Friday, when we face Pakistan (at Lord’s)... We aren’t looking too far ahead... We were in a tough group, but showed character by winning both the qualifying matches.
Finally, on Sri Lanka’s new captain, Kumar Sangakkara
Kumar’s good... He has the mind of a captain.
Source : The Telegraph
He's nearing 40, but Sanath Jayasuriya, who says age does not worry him, seems to be enjoying the shortest version of cricket. Today, he dominated Trent Bridge, smacking 81 off 47 balls to lead Sri Lanka to a 15-run win over West Indies.
The win ensured a 100% record for Sri Lanka in Group C, the 'group of death', and though it came in an inconsequential match, will help Sri Lanka - who fielded an unchanged side from their previous win against Australia - continue the momentum into the Super Eights.
Jayasuriya, along with Tillakaratne Dilshan - whom he compared to Romesh Kaluwitharana, his comrade in arms in the World Cup-winning team of 1996 - launched Sri Lanka's innings in imposing fashion with an opening partnership of 124. His confident strokeplay ensured the run-rate never dropped below ten. "When I drove through extra cover in the second over, I knew it was a perfect shot and that I was hitting the ball really well," Jayasuriya said. "I needed to continue so I just watched the ball and if it was pitched in my zone, I always hit it hard. Everything was working well for me today. As long as I am playing well and performing that's the only thing that I worry about, age does not worry me."
Jayasuriya regretted missing out on scoring Sri Lanka's first Twenty20 international century, but said he was focused on getting more runs on the board. "It's a bit disappointing because whoever is set is expected to bat the full 20 overs, but at the end of the day as a player and as a team we wanted to win the game."
He praised Dilshan, who at times outshone him in strokeplay as he completed his second fifty of the tournament. "Dilshan is playing really well and you get a lot of confidence when you are at the other end with him," Jayasuriya said. "Some of the shots Dilshan plays are unbelievable, especially the flick shot over the wicketkeeper's head. I can't improvise the way he does and I haven't even thought of it. It is a bit dangerous but Dilshan is brave enough to play it. The way he played allowed me to play my natural game. Opening with him reminded me of the days when I had Kaluwitharana as my partner when we won the World Cup."
With Sri Lanka in the Super Eights, Jayasuriya said they were taking one match at a time. Their next opponents are Pakistan on Friday and he is confident that with the variety they have in their bowling line-up they stand a good chance in the tournament.
NOTTINGHAM: Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara hailed golden oldie Sanath Jayasuriya as a "genius" after the opener smashed 81 in the 15-run win over West Indies in the World Twenty20 on Wednesday.
Left-handed Jayasuriya, at 39 the oldest player in the 12-nation tournament, hit his runs off 47 balls, an innings studded with 10 boundaries and three sixes.
Jayasuriya and Tillakaratne Dilshan hammered an opening stand of 124 to lay the foundation of their team's 192-5.
"Sanath is a genius and he was ably supported by Dilshan. They proved that with a good start you can put up a very defendable total," said Sangakkara.
"The main thing today was to get momentum and I'm happy with the way the guys played."
Jayasuriya made just two in the opening victory over Australia and has been struggling recently for runs with many questioning his place in the team.
But he answered his critics in style in Wednesday's Group C match at Trent Bridge.
"I am enjoying my cricket, but I get great support from my teammates," said the veteran.
"Dilshan and I like to play our natural game and it was great for our confidence.
"In the first few overs if you see the ball well, then you are there. I was positive and played my natural game."
Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya on Wednesday won an unprecedented sixth Man of the Match award in Twenty20 internationals, three more than any other player.
The southpaw, who scored a blazing 81, became the second batsman to score two scores of 80 or more in T20 internationals after West Indies’ Chris Gayle. Jayasuriya had also made 88 against Kenya at Johannesburg in 2007-08.
The match between West Indies and Sri Lanka was the 100th Twenty20 international and the Lankan openers gave enough reason to cheer.
The first-wicket partnership of 124 runs between Tillakaratne Dilshan and Jayasuriya was Sri Lanka's best for any wicket in T20 internationals, bettering the 87-run partnership for the third wicket between Jayasuriya and Mahela Jayawardene against Kenya at Johannesburg in 2007-08.
Jayasuriya also became first Sri Lankan batsman to aggregate 400 runs in T20 Internationals.
While the batsmen made merry, it wasn't so easy for the bowlers.
Kieron Pollard's figures of 3-0-45-0 (RpO 15.00) are the most expensive by any bowler in Twenty20 internationals in a spell of three overs. South Africa’s Mkhaya Ntini had conceded 44 runs in his 3 overs against Australia at Johannesburg in 2005-06.
The 17 wides conceded by Sri Lanka is the second most by any side in Twenty20 Internationals. West Indies had conceded 23 wides against South Africa at Johannesburg in 2007-08.
Mystery spinner Ajantha Mendis though became the highest Sri Lankan wicket-taker in this format of the game. The two wickets in the match took his tally of wickets to 16, one head of Dilhara Fernando’s tally of 15 wickets. Interestingly, Mendis needed only five matches to do so as against Fernando's 13.
Sanath Jayasuriya admitted the Twenty20 format suits his game despite his advancing years after belting 81 against West Indies as Sri Lanka won their final group match.
The opening batsman turns 40 this week but looked as good as ever as he cracked 10 fours and three sixes in his side's 192 for five.
The veteran has been a lynchpin for his side for almost two decades and he has always thrived in limited overs cricket, and remains focused on what he does best.
"I'm doing perfectly well and that's the only thing for me. There is no worry about my age, you just go out and play," he said. "It suits me like that because my natural game is attacking cricket.
"I enjoy these Twenty20 games and it's been really good to play in them. You need to be really fit and work very hard on your game so at the end of my career I am very happy to have the opportunity.
"It's really hard work though and it's tough to keep up with these youngsters!"
Jayasuriya paid tribute to opening partner Tillakaratne Dilshan, who made 74 in 47 balls courtesy of a series of improvised sweeps and paddles.
"Dilshan has been playing really, really well," he said. "It shows good confidence when you can play that way. With the way he is playing, I know I can just play my game.
"That's a big advantage to us. When you see him playing some of those shots I can't even believe it standing at the other end. It's nice to see him doing that and I get confidence from it.
"I can't play shots that are improvised that much though; I don't even think about it.
"When I got out I thought about playing some right-handed shots but I can't do that, that is for Dilshan only. He never fears playing his own shots."
Sanath Jayasuriya may be turning 40 at the end of the month but his demolition of the West Indian attack, which paved the way for Sri Lanka's 15-run victory at Trent Bridge, was as violent as any innings played during his heydays. In the absence of Chris Gayle, Jayasuriya ensured that the crowd had its fill of massive hits, blitzing 81 off only 47 balls, and his occupation of centre stage was so complete that Tillakaratne Dilshan's second half-century of the tournament was largely overshadowed until after his dismissal.
The West Indian bowlers made novice errors while bowling to Jayasuriya. They often gave him too much width, allowing him to free his muscled forearms and launch the ball over the off side, instead of cramping him for the room he loves. They bowled too short and too straight as well, giving Jayasuriya the space to lift the ball off his pads. Denesh Ramdin, West Indies' captain for the day, was forced to make frequent bowling changes but none of his bowlers were able to break Sri Lanka's opening stand before it caused severe damage. Jayasuriya and Dilshan added 124 for the first wicket in 12.3 overs, and Dilshan took charge thereafter to steer Sri Lanka towards a match-winning total.
Jayasuriya's innings today ended a period of poor Twenty20 form: he had a quiet IPL and his scores in three innings since arriving in England were 26, 1 and 2. He certainly didn't look out of touch today, though, tearing into Fidel Edwards' first over by launching the first ball through cover and the third over cover for fours, before pulling a short fifth ball powerfully over deep backward square leg.
He was aggressive against all comers, slashing Dwayne Bravo in his first over to the boundary, sweeping and reverse sweeping Sulieman Benn, and powering Kieron Pollard to the long-off boundary. And when Edwards returned after everyone else had failed to take a wicket, Jayasuriya attacked him once again, carving the first ball over the point boundary, pulling two short balls for fours behind square, before chipping a wide one past the wicketkeeper. Edwards' two overs cost 37 runs and he wasn't given the ball again.
Jayasuriya dominated the early scoring, contributing 32 out of Sri Lanka's first 40 runs, but Dilshan eventually emerged from his shadow with astonishing improvisation. He moved across his stumps to Pollard's first ball, bent down low, ready to play the scoop and sent it flying over the wicketkeeper's head for four. Dilshan may not have even been looking at the ball as he made contact but it was no fluke. He had played it against Australia and he did it again against Lendl Simmons. Dilshan went on to cut Pollard over point for six and a four during a first over that cost 19. He rattled Pollard, forcing the bowler to abort his run-up by getting into position extremely early to repeat his scoop, and even reverse-swatted Benn for four. He switched to a higher gear after Jayasuriya was dismissed, finished with 74 off 47 balls.
West Indies withered under the onslaught: Benn dropped Dilshan at short third man and Andre Fletcher let one pass him on the fine-leg boundary. The last bowler Ramdin turned to, however, proved to be their best. Simmons first struck in the 13th over, trapping Jayasuriya who attempted a reverse-hit when a century was there for the taking, and his next big wicket, that of Dilshan, was also a result of a failed reverse-sweep. Those two strikes from Simmons helped keep Sri Lanka under 200.
Chasing 193 is a daunting task but even more so when a team is without their most dangerous hitter. West Indies had rested Gayle, who suffered a knee injury during his razing of Australia, because this match was, for all practical purposes, a dead rubber. They were dented further when their other half-centurion against Australia, Andre Fletcher, lost his leg stump to a slower full toss from Lasith Malinga.
Simmons, who opened in Gayle's absence, showed some fight, mowing Ajantha Mendis to the midwicket boundary and reverse-hitting him past short fine leg. West Indies' cause was aided by sloppiness in the field: Jayasuriya and Malinga both conceded five wides and Xavier Marshall's 14 included five overthrows.
West Indies had raced to 65 for 1 after six overs but a passage of play during which they lost three wickets in seven balls ruined their chances of victory. Muttiah Muralitharan landed the first punch, inducing Simmons to edge to first slip, and Mendis struck twice in an over, getting rid of Marshall and Shivnarine Chanderpaul. West Indies had slipped to 73 for 4 and even though Bravo, who reached his 50 off 37 balls with a thunderous six over long-on off Malinga, and Ramnaresh Sarwan shared a 77-run partnership, the innings had lost too much momentum and there was always too much lost ground for the batsmen to make up. Sarwan and Pollard startd the final over needing 28 but managed only 12.
The victory put Sri Lanka on top of Group C, the toughest pool in the preliminary round.
Source : Cricinfo
Monday, June 08, 2009
In Australia's opening game at the Twenty20 World Championship it was Chris Gayle who put it to the sword, with the Windies skipper smashing 88 off just 50 balls to guide his side to a comfortable win.
When the Aussies take on Sri Lanka in Nottingham, they will come across another left-hand opening batsman who has a penchant for destruction.
In what is most likely his last major tournament, Sanath Jayasuriya will be keen to go out with a bang.
The pocket-sized thrashing machine will turn 40 just nine days after the new T20 World Champions are crowned at Lord's.
As the sun sets on his career, he and his team-mates will be hoping for just a few more of those powerhouse innings for which he has become renowned.
A former skipper of Sri Lanka, he holds the world record for most appearances in 50-over internationals, a staggering 432 matches.
His one-day debut came against Australia at the MCG on Boxing Day 1989.
Since then he's amassed over 13,000 runs and 28 centuries - second only to Sachin Tendulkar on both counts.
But one area where he shades the Indian maestro is his strike rate - 91 to 86.
In the top 30 run-scorers in ODI history, only Adam Gilchrist (97) betters Jayasuriya's scoring rate.
One of the most common sights at the start of a Sri Lankan innings is the absence of a fine leg when Jayasuriya is on strike.
His propensity to carve anything outside off-stump through or over point usually results in opposing skippers starting the innings with a man on the fence square on the off-side, along with a squarish third man.
That signature shot has brought him countless boundaries and more than its fair share of sixes.
Ricky Ponting will be very aware of Jayasuriya's potential to get his team off to a flying start, although there is a chance he may bat down the order.
Either way, you can expect fireworks from the first ball he faces.
And if he's at the crease during the first six overs, you can guarantee he'll be eyeing the boundary from ball one.
Source : ABC News
Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Kumar Sangakkara drew directly from the Good Captaincy handbook by offering unqualified support to a team-mate down on his luck. But, at some level, Sri Lanka must harbour concern for Sanath Jayasuriya, the one-time Howitzer of international limited-overs cricket whose firepower has been notably subdued in recent months.
By his own lofty standards, Jayasuriya's return of 221 runs at 18.41 in 12 innings for the Mumbai Indians was unsatisfactory, and the constricted nature of his batting often made life difficult for his middle-order team-mates. That thread extended into Tuesday's Twenty20 practice match against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge, during which Jayasuriya failed to register a run in eight consecutive deliveries from Mashrafe Mortaza and Mahmudullah. Precisely half of his 26 deliveries faced were dot-balls, and only a few trademark sixes over the square-boundary and a charitable offering of four overthrows kept his innings strike-rate above the industry standard 100-mark.
The beauty of Jayasuriya's batting has always been its simplicity and general joie de vivre. See the ball. Hit the ball. With little mind paid to match situations or the reputations of opposing bowlers, Jayasuriya breathed life into a stagnant limited-overs game in the mid-1990s with dashing, free-spirited strokeplay in an era of nudgers and nurdlers. Indeed, his one-day opening combination with Romesh Kaluwitharana revolutionised the manner in which international teams viewed opening 50-over innings, ditching conservatism to take full advantage of early field restrictions.
Yet, as indefatigable as his performances have been over the years, there is no escaping the fact that Jayasuriya's 40th birthday falls nine days after the final of this World Twenty20. That is comfortably clear of the next oldest player currently participating in top-flight international cricket, and a quick glance at his record - 371 Test and first-class matches, 951 ODI and List-A games and 64 international and domestic Twenty20 encounters - reveals a workload that may well be unmatched in the history of the game among allrounders.
Jayasuriya has made a career out of defying convention, but evidence is mounting that his powers are in decline. Can he produce one more fortnight of powerful strokeplay? Time will tell. But Sangakkara, for one, is confident he can.
"The fact that he's always going to be in our starting XI is because we have that confidence in him," Sangakkara, Sri Lanka's recently installed captain, said. "He could be 40 or 45, but in our fitness tests he's up among our top eight. Age or fitness is not going to be a problem. He just needs to work his magic when the opportunity presents itself.
"He's still very important to us. I think he's just working his way into the tournament. His job for us is just to go out there and be Sanath. If he wants to hit the first ball out of the park, that's what we want him to do. We just want him to feel he's a very important part of our side. Everyone in the team has the fullest confidence in him. That's why he's here, and that's why he's going to be part of our side looking forward to the 2011 World Cup."
Sri Lanka possess a magnificent Twenty20 line-up; perhaps the best on-paper team in the tournament alongside South Africa. With Tillakaratne Dilshan, Mahela Jayawardene and Sangakkara leading the batting effort, Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis headlining the spin attack and Lasith Malinga and Nuwan Kulasekara to take the new ball, Sri Lanka appear well positioned to launch an assault on India's crown.
A firing Jayasuriya - complete with thunderous strokeplay, miserly spin and athletic fielding - would greatly enhance that bid. But while the body appears willing with the ball, Jayasuriya's recent hesitancy at the crease throughout the IPL is a concerning development for a team seeking to avenge the disappointment of its 2007 World Twenty20 campaign. Bangladesh confounded him with changes of pace and full-pitched spin; a template they appeared to borrow from Mumbai's IPL rivals in 2009.
A temporary glitch or the inexorable encroachment of old age? Much will be revealed in the next fortnight.
Source : Cricinfo
Monday, June 01, 2009
London: Sri Lankan opener Sanath Jayasuriya has said that team had put behind the Lahore attack and were firmly focussed on the Twenty20 World Cup.
In a conversation with at the nets, Jayasuriya said: "It's all history now. It has been an unfortunate incident and we have to keep these things behind and look ahead and see what's in the present and in the future.
"We're looking forward to this particular tournament and we want to do well and play well here."
Jayasuriya said the IPL had given a lot of Lankan players great match practice.
"IPL was the key; the preparation is really good. IPL has given a lot of confidence," he said, while refusing to pinpoint any team as a favourite.
"In Twenty20 you can't predict. It's a short version of the game and some unexpected team can come and play well. It's too early to predict who will make it to the final."
The batsman, who had played a crucial role in Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup title win, said the T20 World Cup was also special to him.
"I always try to play well whenever we get the opportunity. Even this particular series is an unique and special one for me and I'll try and do the best for my country," he said.
Source : Cricketnext
India is the most formidable team going into the second edition of the Twenty20 World Cup. Speaking exclusively to Nidhi Tuli, Sri Lankan explosive opening batsman Sanath Jayasuriya calls the Men in Blue the most solid side in the race for the world title.
Nidhi: Last time around Sri Lanka could not make the cut, but are you confident about doing well this time?
Sanath: I think. The boys have been playing well and we have been playing IPL too before this, so it is a good practice for us. We have a young and experienced side, so we are just looking forward to this tournament.
Nidhi: Which team would you are targeting?
Sanath: The thing is on the particular day who will do well will be good for the team. It will depend from day to day.
Nidhi: India are the defending champions in this tournament. Do you think the pressure to defend the title can pull them down?
Sanath: No. I think it is all a history. This is a new tournament. They will come in with a fresh mind and thinking to do well in this World Cup.
Nidhi: Do you think there will be any advantage for India going into this World Cup?
Sanath: They have a good side. They have been playing really and also their confidence is really high.
Nidhi: Do you think the current Indian side on paper is the best?
Sanath: Yes they have a very good side. They have been playing very good cricket in the last one year or so. They have been really good in all forms of the game. Most of their batsmen are in good form and their bowlers also are doing well.
Nidhi: Coming through the IPL, do you think that practice is going to help the team or will the fatigue factor come into play?
Sanath: When you play for any tournament, it helps players because you need match practice.
Nidhi: Which is the one team you would pick to be most solid for this tournament?
Sanath: I think Indian team is the most solid team
(Interviewed by Nidhi Tuli)
Source : TimesNow
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