Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sanath Jayasuriya’s call-up by Sri Lanka minimal loss to Dolphins

Top Dolphins signing Sanath Jayasuriya’s call-up to Sri Lanka’s national one-day side for the series with home side Bangladesh and Zimbabwe in January means he will only miss the semi-finals and final of the MTN one-day series in the unlikely event of the struggling KZN side advancing to the play-offs.

The Dolphins manager of playing affairs, Jay Naidoo, told Weekend Witness yesterday that Jayasuriya (39) is currently back in Sri Lanka, but he will return to Durban next week.

Naidoo said Dolphins coach Yashin Ebrahim had spoken to the agent of the highly experienced Sri Lankan and it was confirmed that Jayasuriya will be available for the seven remaining preliminary matches and the entire Pro20 Series that follows.

“A clause was included in Jayasuriya’s contract with the Dolphins that should he miss matches, barring because of injury, it would affect his remuneration,” said Naidoo.

Jayasuriya, who is still contracted to Sri Lanka cricket, was given permission by his board to join the Dolphins for the limited-over section of their season on condition that any selection for his national team during that period would be honoured.

The hard-hitting batsman and spinner has 421 ODI appearances behind him, but he has misfired with bat and ball in the three Dolphins matches so far. Naidoo, who is also convenor of the selection panel, is convinced that the player’s class will prevail.

Naidoo said Jayasuriya was signed on a contract befitting his status but his total package — paid in U.S. dollars — “is well below the exaggerated sums mentioned in certain sections of the media”.

“Sanath has yet to come good, but he is a complete professional and has had a positive influence on the squad,” said Naidoo.

The Dolphins, yet to win a game in seven outings this season, and bottom of both the four-day and 45-over logs, play four MTN matches in eight days, beginning against the Cape Cobras in Cape Town next Sunday and ending against the Lions at the PMB Oval on Sunday, December 21.

“If we win those matches, that takes us through to the semis,” said an optimistic Naidoo.

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