Saturday, June 28, 2008

'Old man' Jayasuriya making no plans for retirement - Reuters

KARACHI, June 29 (Reuters)

Swashbuckling Sri Lankan batsman Sanath Jayasuriya celebrates his 39th birthday on Sunday with no retirement plans in sight.

Sri Lanka's highest test scorer and the second most capped player in one-day internationals, Jayasuriya demonstrated he had lost none of his flair by smashing 72 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup on Wednesday.

"I don't think about my future plans," he told reporters. "As long as I am fit I will keep on going."

The stocky left-hander retired from test cricket last December but continues to play in one-dayers, a form of the game that made him a hero in his country and a feared opponent.

His explosive style of batting helped Sri Lanka win the 1996 World Cup and changed the way many batsmen approached one-day matches.

"I don't think age is a factor with Sanath," Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene told Reuters. "As long as he is hungry to perform, I am sure he will keep on going."

Jayasuriya was axed from Sri Lanka's one-day squad for the tour of the West Indies in April before being recalled for the six-nation Asia Cup.

"Sanath went through a bit of a rough period last year or so after the World Cup," said Jayawardene. "People asked questions about him but I thought he worked really very hard. I think he needed to prove something and he proved it."

With 12,382 runs and 309 wickets in 412 one-day internationals and having retired after 110 tests with 6,973 runs many feel, the all-rounder has nothing more to prove.

"I love this game and I still feel great after a good performance or seeing the team win," Jayasuriya said.

Sri Lanka's former skipper quit the national side in 2006 because of differences between the board and selectors but was quickly persuaded to return.

"I think he is the only guy who knows the answer how long he will keep on going," said Jayawardene. "But I think he is amazing and it is good to have him in the team. He can still change the game pretty soon."

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