Friday, December 07, 2007

Tributes to Sanath Jayasuriya

Inspiring a generation of cricketers

Sri Lanka's captain and vice-captain, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara, paid tribute to their team-mate and former leader, Sanath Jayasuriya, who bowed out of Test cricket at the age of 38 following his side's 88-run win over England in the first Test in Kandy.

"It is a tremendous loss when you lose someone who's played for 18 years," said Jayawardene after the match. "He's been a batsman, a senior player, and a bowler, and his loss is going to be huge, especially in the dressing room."

Sangakkara was even more flowing in his praise of a man he first saw as a spectator at the Asgiriya Stadium during the 1996 World Cup. "That World Cup win probably inspired not just me, but a whole generation of young cricketers to try and play for Sri Lanka," said Sangakkara. "He changed the face of world cricket, especially in the one-day arena. He's a wonderful cricketer, a wonderful man and he's had a wonderful career.

"I think for me personally he's been a pillar of support," added Sangakkara. "He was my first captain and when I was struggling to make the side there was always positive re-enforcement from him, and never a negative word. We have the best memories of him in the dressing room. We'll miss him, but life and cricket moves on, and we'll look ahead with a new side."

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