Sanath Jayasuriya, the Sri Lankan batsman, has been signed by the Dolphins, the Kwa Zulu-Natal-based franchise, to play on the South African domestic circuit for two seasons.
The Dolphins have pulled off the biggest pre-season coup in South African cricket by negotiating a contract with Sri Lankan batting maestro Sanath Jayasuriya.
Jayasuriya confirmed he had signed a contract with the Dolphins but refused to reveal his fee. "I'm bound by my contract not to make any statements about the financial side of the deal," Jayasuriya told South Africa's Daily News. "All I can say is that I will play for the Dolphins and help change things around over the next two seasons."
Jayasuriya, who will arrive in Durban with his family towards the end of October, said he was joining the team for a purpose. "I'm still part of the Sri Lankan one-day and the Twenty20 squads. Hence I am coming to Durban with a goal: I want to transform the Dolphins into a trophy-winning team. That's my aim."
In the Indian Premier League Jayasuriya was a huge hit. He scored 514 runs with a highest score of 114 not out (9x4s and 11x6s off 48 balls) against Chennai Super Kings. He averaged 42.83 in the competition and his strike-rate was a massive 166.34. He struck a total of 57 fours and 31 sixes in the 14 matches. The former Sri Lankan captain has played a record 421 one-day internationals for his country, 110 Tests and 28 Twenty20 Internationals.
Yashin Ebrahim, the Dolphins coach, said that signing Jayasuriya was a dream come true for the team. "He is still one of the best players in the shortened form of the game and he will no doubt add value to the Dolphins this season. The fact that we have not won a trophy for a few years motivated Sanath to make the trip to Durban. He said he loves challenges and would do his best to bring back the glory days and crowds to Sahara Stadium Kingsmead."
The Dolphins were placed fourth in the SuperSport Series, South Africa's four-day domestic tournament, fifth in the one-day championship, and were finalists in the Pro20.