Friday, August 29, 2008

Sanath Jayasuriya in Bolly Wood Flick "Victory" :-)

Sri Lankan cricket stars Kumar Sangakkara, Muttiah Muralitharan and Sanath Jayasuriya are among the 40 international cricketers who have figured in a Bollywood-film-in-the-making “Victory”, a story of a father who wants his son to rise to the level of a cricketer of international fame.

Scenes for “Victory,” a story of a small town boy who dreams of playing cricket for India, were shot in Colombo last week, with actor Harman Baweja playing against Sri Lanka’s national team, reported The News.

Also starring in the 10-million-dollar film will be the Indian team, plus Australian paceman Brett Lee, England bowlers Sajid Mahmood and Simon Jones, and New Zealander Craig McMillan.

The film is scheduled to have its premier in January in Bombay, followed by a release in Britain.

After his first Bollywood experience, Sri Lankan paceman Dilhara Fernando said: “This was more difficult than actually playing cricket.” On his part, actor Baweja said that playing with international cricketers was an ‘intimidating experience’ for him. “Luckily, I’ve always been a cricket fan, but then I think every Indian is born loving cricket. Playing against some of the world’s most famous cricketers was an intimidating experience. It helps that they are all going easy on me,” Baweja said.

Filming, which began in Sydney last December, also includes locations in India, England and Pakistan. The film is intended to give a glimpse into backstage politics and the role that sponsors, selectors and managers play in the game.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Top-order batsmen hold the key

After two low-scoring games in Dambulla, the teams move to three straight day-night contests at the Premadasa, and the statistics suggest what happens in the rest of the series could lie in the starts given by the top-order batsmen.

In 60 day-night games, Nos 1-3 average 35.78 per wicket, that figure falling to 29.84 for the next three in the line-up. Sanath Jayasuriya is the leading run-getter at the Premadasa - his 2212 is only 252 short of the record for most at a single stadium - followed by Marvan Atapattu, another top-order bat. Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag have also scored big here - Tendulkar's aggregate of 872 here is the most for any Indian batsmen at a venue outside of Sharjah.

With the advent of Powerplays teams pack their top order with their most instinctive - and destructive - stroke players. Unlike India, who have major injury woes and are searching for rhythm, Sri Lanka are settled, with Jayasuriya and Kumar Sangakkara in their top three. Sangakkara feels the responsibility will be on the top order. "If one of them bats into the 40th over and beyond, the side is going to get a large score," he told Cricinfo. "That is the kind of attitude that top-order players should carry into a match. A team then has one player who they can bat around and it gives the late middle-order a chance to attack. It is a foundation on which to build a huge score."

The Premadasa has hosted 81 one-day internationals and is a traditional one-day pitch that offers runs for the batsmen and purchase for the spinners. The pitch favours the batsmen more than Dambulla did, which should please both sides. The average runs per wicket is 29.33, scored at 4.61 an over, which equates to 230.5 in 50 overs. Teams that have won the toss and opted to bat first have won 32 times and lost 22.

Beating Sri Lanka at home has always been tough, but it's been even harder in day-night matches, and especially those played the Premadasa. In a line-up without Tendulkar and Sehwag, India are searching for adequate replacements at the top. Gautam Gambhir is likely to return but Virat Kohli has looked scratchy in his three innings on tour when thrust into the opening slot. Irfan Pathan didn't fire when given the chance, leaving S Badrinath as a potential opener. He's never opened in limited-overs domestic cricket but is a compact player and confident against pace.

With a spin attack comprising Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis, it would not be a bad option for India's best batsmen to get their eye in against the medium-pacers. That could mean a promotion to No. 3 for Yuvraj Singh (a better option than straightaway exposing his weakness against quality spin) or Mahendra Singh Dhoni (who seems a good anchor for the rest to play around, rather than leave himself for a recovery act).

Both sides played six batsmen and five bowlers in the second game on a two-paced Dambulla track but such were the conditions that the batsmen were uncertain of when to play their shots. At the start of both matches the ball was doing a fair bit and it was hard for the batsmen to get into rhythm. "It was a very confusing time for both teams," Sangakkara said. "None of them really came to terms with how the pitch was playing."

One-day cricket was irreversibly changed 14 years ago when India, chasing 143 to beat New Zealand in Auckland, sent Tendulkar to open. A few years later Jayasuriya's revved-up approach to the same task powered Sri Lanka's successful World Cup campaign and took pinch-hitting to a new level. Tendulkar is back in India nursing an injured elbow, but Jayasuriya will pad up to open the innings. A good opening shot by either side may well close down the series.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Middle order needs to fire for Sri Lanka

In the months after the World Cup, Sri Lankan cricket went through a transition of sorts, as experienced cricketers like Marvan Atapattu and Russell Arnold retired and younger talent was brought in. All throughout Mahela Jayawardene called for the need to give the newer players more time and for the seniors to take up more responsibility.

Now as the World Cup finalists they currently sit at No. 7 in the ICC ratings for one-day international sides, having won two out of six series. Immediately after the World Cup, Sri Lanka lost to Pakistan 2-1 in Abu Dhabi. A 3-0 whitewash of Bangladesh was followed by a rare home loss, and that to England, hardly the best ODI side in the game. After a poor CB Series in Australia Sri Lanka were beaten 2-0 by West Indies, ranked eighth in the world. It really couldn't get much worse than that.

The most consistent problem was a deficiency in the batting department, which failed to function as a cohesive unit. Sanath Jayasuriya blew hot and cold, Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara sparkled intermittently, and a lack of fire power in the middle and lower order hurt Sri Lanka. The middle order revolved around a mix of bits-and-pieces cricketers and one-day specialists, and no one stood out. One or two batsmen performed in each game, but that is rarely enough.

In the last year Tillakaratne Dilshan averaged 29.76; Chamara Silva 24.42; Chamara Kapugedera 33.07; Maharoof, restricted to seven games due to injury, averaged 11.25. Chaminda Vaas failed to chip in with runs and the most successful lower-order batsman was Nuwan Kulasekara, who averaged 26.75. In one-day cricket you need runs on the board. Sri Lanka failed to always put those up.

Like all sides searching for a settled team, they also experimented. Upul Tharanga and Mahela Udawatte opened the batting at times, with mixed success. In Pakistan Sri Lanka bumped Sangakkara up to open the innings because it was felt they needed another bowler. Kapugedera was shuffled around and injury to Maharoof only compounded their woes.

Sri Lanka failed to bat well consistently against England at home and in Australia, where they only won two games. The 3-1 scoreline against England should have been the wake-up call to spur them into a period of intense development and progress as a team, but the CB Series was equally disappointing. Their highest total was 238 and the batsmen averaged just 22.44 runs per wicket - that doesn't win you games. Sri Lanka failed to get big knocks from Sanath Jayasuriya and Sangakkara, like they played in last two games of the Asia Cup, and that has a huge effect on their performance.

In the few games of the CB Series that two of the top three got starts, the rest were unable to work a way out when the opposition tightened its line. In a sense the senior Sri Lankan batsmen ignored the very lesson they had been stressing to their younger team-mates, of staying out in the middle as long as possible.

Jayawardene admitted a few personnel changes also attributed to this dip in form, but he gave no excuses. "We did not consistently lift our standards since the World Cup," he said. "We certainly are not there but we're maintaining it. We turned it around a bit in the Asia Cup, where we were consistent with the bat, ball and on the field. That's the toughest thing for international sides."

In a sense the Asia Cup marked a revival. Sri Lanka batted consistently well, but there was one massive factor - Ajantha Mendis. His success, come in such a short period, gives them the option - momentarily - of scrutinising their batting combination.

Jayasuriya's return, after a terrific Indian Premier League and his Asia Cup final century, makes a massive difference to Sri Lanka, as he is the only real power player they have. A well-rested Jayasuriya can offer dimension to Sri Lanka's unit, but the fact is that plenty of responsibility falls on Jayawardene and Sangakkara. The middle order needs to come good.

Sri Lanka have been able to fall back on a bowling unit which picked up a lot of wickets recently, but Jayawardene wants to move on from what happened in Australia. He recognised Mendis as a trump card, an attacking option, but called on others to contribute. Sri Lanka need to re-learn a lesson taught to them before the World Cup - when you cruise, you often cruise downwards.


Watch out for

Sanath Jayasuriya: The last time he played India, Jayasuriya cracked a match-winning 125, his sixth ODI hundred against them. Jayasuriya relishes playing the Indians - no one has scored as many runs against them as he has - and even more so at home, where he averages 46.44 at a strike-rate of exactly a run a ball. His record in Dambulla isn't as impressive - an average of 26.23, with just one half-century in 15 innings - but against India he'll fancy his chances of turning that around.

Openers Jayasuriya, Sehwag in explosive duel: Lanka count on Sanath factor

Dambulla: Big named players who have dual roles always get that extra pat on the back from their captains. Srilanka's left-handed opener Sanath Jayasuriya may be 39, but remains a bowler's nightmare with his ability to change the course of a match with devastating stroke-play. India will not easily forget their last encounter with the Sri Lankan, who hammered a quick-fire century under pressure to set up his team's victory in the Asia Cup final in Karachi last month. Listening to Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Mahela Jayawardene about the stars in their squads always explains a certain admiration society. They cannot be blamed either as it is a case of match-winning efforts from those who believe in living on the edge.

What doesn't come as a surprise is that for Dhoni it is Virender Sehwag and Jayawardene it is Sanath Jayasuriya who produces the comments. It is all good hype as the Idea Cup ODI series is about to be launched here in the heart of what is Sri Lanka's cultural triangle

It was Dhoni who pointed out the value of Sehwag and Jayasuriya to either side.

"In any form of cricket whether in Test or one-dayer, the start (to an innings) is important. But it does not mean the entire pressure is on the openers to always give you a good start.

"Sehwag is sort of a player who takes a bit of risk. He is a strokeplayer and there is a fair amount of risk involved. So whenever he gives us a good start then we get a fair chance to win the game.

"He is also presently in a very good nick as he and Gautam Gambhir have played well in the Test series also. Of course they will have some added responsibility but no real pressure," Dhoni explained.

What he didn't say is how both batsmen shaped well against Ajantha Mendis, the new mystery spinner with a record 26 wickets in the recent three-match Test series. They learnt the trick is to hit the bowler straight and not try and work him square off their legs.

Jayawardene took a similar viewpoint with his former captain Jayasuriya and the value he added to the Sri Lanka team.

"When in form he (Jayasuriya) is always a great value because he can add so much with the bat and as well when he is bowling," Jayawardene enthused. "He can always contribute. And the start he gets us makes a huge difference.

"If he stays in for say ten or fifteen overs you are guaranteed a good start. He's a bit like Sehwag is for India. That gives you a different dimension to our set-up," he added.

Both sides indicated that they are planning a six batsmen-five bowlers scenario, but nothing is decided. It could depend on the state of the pitch.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Sanath placed on 16th spot - ICC ODI Rankings [ 17th August 2008 ]

Here are the potential scenarios about Sanath Jayasuriya's rankings after India - Srilanka Series :

Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya (16th) also has a top 10 spot in ODI Batting rankings firmly within his sights.

In the Reliance Mobile Player Rankings for ODI all-rounders, Jayasuriya is in seventh place and has a good opportunity to break into the top five

Jayasuriya adds to Indian worries

If India's theme moving from Tests to ODIs is drastic change - virtually the whole squad is different, the captain is different, even the manager is different - then Sri Lanka's theme is continuity.

Muttiah Muralitharan and Ajantha Mendis are the twin spin threats in both forms and the batting is built around two pillars, Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara. But if there is one dramatic difference, it is in the form of Sanath Jayasuriya, who has given up the longest version of the game but still strikes fear in opposition bowlers in ODIs. India have often been at the receiving end of some fearful thrashings that Jayasuriya has handed out, and the blows of the Asia Cup final will still be fresh in Indian minds. After being involved in an early mix-up that saw Sangakkara be run out by some way, Jayasuriya decided to make amends. Even as India's bowlers carved into the Sri Lankan top-order, reducing them to 66 for 4, the game was not lost for Jayasuriya.

The combative left-hander batted on a different plane from the men attempting to partner him, hitting five sixes and nine fours on the way to a 114-ball 125 that formed 45% of the team's runs. Without Jayasuriya Sri Lanka would never have reached a score that would trouble India, but after he fired, they were transformed and the choke-hold of Ajantha Mendis bowled them to a 100-run win.

While handling Mendis has been the big priority for the Indians till now, when the first ODI gets under way on Monday they will have Jayasuriya to contend with. With Ishant Sharma missing from action, the extra pace and bounce that might have posed problems for Jayasuriya are out of the way. Jayasuriya's opening battles with Zaheer Khan, who has a reputation of bowling well to left-handed batsmen, will be crucial. If Jayasuriya can get the better of the early skirmishes he will find the pace of Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel to his liking.

The manner in which Jayasuriya bats, as much as the runs he scores, has a demoralising effect on the opposition. He scores rapidly, and not with cheeky innovations or cute dabs to unorthodox areas. Using his powerful forearms to maximum possible effect, Jayasuriya has the ability to hit the good balls for boundaries, and with the fielding restrictions in place in the first 15 overs, if he is not dismissed quickly, the question of trying to contain him does not arise.

If the opening of Michael Vandort was the one weak link for the Sri Lankans in the Test series, they go into the ODIs in the full knowledge that one of the most destructive ODI openers of all time will set the tone for them. In the normal course you would expect that playing cricket for an extended period of time would slow your reflexes and weaken your limbs, but even at 39 Jayasuriya shows no signs of slowing down. Dropping out of Test cricket has, no doubt, extended Jayasuriya's career in ODIs, but apart from the fact that he does not bowl as much of his canny left-arm spin now as before, there are few concessions that Jayasuriya makes. Those who have known Jayasuriya closely over the years attribute this to a near mania for fitness and careful control of his diet.

Speaking at the sidelines of a promotional event recently Jayasuriya appeared well-rested and keen to get into competition. "It will be an exciting series. Yes, we have beaten them in the Tests, but complacency is the last thing we want to see," he said. "Their pride will be hurt, so they'll want to make sure they go home with a win in the one-dayers." At the same time Jayasuriya banished the notion that he might be rusty, just because he does not play Test cricket any more. "There hasn't been any domestic cricket, so I haven't spent time in the middle," he conceded. "But that's part and parcel of the game. You've got to be prepared for the challenge. These are the demands of international cricket."

With 526 appearances for Sri Lanka under his belt, you better believe Jayasuriya when he says he knows what the demands of international cricket are. The question is, can India's bowlers ask Jayasuriya questions that he will struggle to answer?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

'Criticisms give me courage to do well' : Sanath Jayasuriya

Colombo: He pulverised the Indian attack at the Asia Cup in Pakistan. At 39 Sanath Jayasuriya still has not decided to hang up his boots and ahead of the One-Day series at home against India he spoke exclusively to CNN-IBN's Himanshu Singhal. Sanath Jayasuriya: I haven't decided when to retire but it depends on how are you going at the moment. Right now I am doing all right but I haven't set a particular time. I will see how it goes tour by tour. CNN-IBN: What keeps you inspired as far as your playing career is concerned right now, as you have achieved almost everything? Sanath Jayasuriya: I think everyday you need to achieve something in your international career. I think representing your country is the most important thing and to do well at that stage. But sometimes you do well, sometimes you don't, sometimes you are out of the team. Then you motivate yourself to come back into the team and perform and show what you can do. So, at the moment I am determined to do well. CNN-IBN: One important lesson that you have learnt or the things that you want to implement now or perhaps improve upon now? Sanath Jayasuriya: Every time you need to improve something. When you come to this stage and sometimes when you are not doing well people start talking about your age and all sorts of things. So, I think these things give you the courage to do well. CNN-IBN: Do you think it is high time that the ICC should perhaps think about implementing the umpires' referral system in the ODIs as well. What is your opinion as a player? Sanath Jayasuriya: At the moment, I am not able to comment on these things because in the Test series we tried a few things - sometimes it helps but sometimes some technical things need to get into these things correctly. So, I think it is 50-50 at the moment. Anyway, we will have to try things out. CNN-IBN: Mahendra Singh Dhoni wasn't here for the Test series but he would be leading the Indian ODI team, do you think his presence is going to make a big difference to the way India compete against Sri Lanka now in the One-Day series? Sanath Jayasuriya: Dhoni is a key player for the India team and I think would have missed him in the Test series very badly, since they didn't have a proper keeper and also in the batting department as well as his experience.

I can't think of life without cricket: Sanath Jayasuriya

COLOMBO: It will be 19 years of cricket for Sri Lankan batting stalwart Sanath Jayasyriya in December. At 39, his contemporaries are long gone but Jayasuriya, still feared by bowlers the world over, is as passionate about the game as a fledgling. The opener says it is the pride to represent his country that keeps him going.

"When I was growing up I only wanted to do one thing and that was to play for my country. I have come a long way since playing my first game, which was at the MCG of all places. I have had the honour of captaining my country and I just can't think of a life without cricket," Jayasuriya said in an interview.

"A lot of people ask me for how long I will continue. I say I don't know. It all depends on my fitness and whether I am still good enough to play for Sri Lanka. The day I feel I haven't got it any more in me I will quit."

After hanging his gloves in the longer version of the game in December last year, Jayasuriya made his last Test match a memorable one by hammering six successive boundaries in an over by James Anderson as he scored a thrilling 78 in the last innings.

However, he was soon dropped from the one-day side after averaging around 15 in his last 20 innings since the World Cup final in April last year, with selectors focusing more on the next edition.

But the explosive batsman made a strong statement with his performance towards the latter part of the Indian Premier League (IPL), where he represented Mumbai Indians. He earned a well-deserved call for the Asia Cup.

Sri Lanka went on to win the Asia Cup and Jayasuriya's blitzkrieg capped him as the highest run-getter in the six-nation tournament. His statistics in the tournament were hard to ignore as he averaged 75.60 and had a strike rate of 126.00, scoring two hundreds and one fifty.

"There were a few things that I worked on after the Australian series early this year. It was the off-season and there were no domestic competitions, so I had a few sessions with the bowling machine and worked ever so harder on my physical fitness," he said.

His rich experience in cricket helped him take failure with poise as he worked his way to the side.

"When you are going through a bad patch, it's very important not to panic. There are so many factors that contribute to poor form and you just need to patiently work on them and the important thing is to revert to basics," Jayasuriya said.

"I regained my touch towards the end of the IPL and was happy to be part of the Asia Cup squad. It was a pleasant experience to win the tournament in Pakistan. We hadn't won any major competition in Pakistan since winning the World Cup," Jayasuriya remarked.

The left-hander says he is now looking forward to the upcoming five-match series against India that starts on Monday.

When asked what went wrong with the Indians in the Tests, Jayasuriya admitted being lost for words.

"It's hard to understand. They are such a strong batting side, for me the best in the world without any doubt. But Sri Lanka gave India no chance. They kept the pressure on and it's not easy when Ajantha (Mendis) and Murali bowl in tandem. I thought Sri Lanka had a good plan, which they executed to perfection. There was someone to rise to the occasion at every crucial point."

"But I am sure they (Indians) will bounce back. Sachin is a class act, Rahul and Sourav are quality players. The point is when you are having such a long career, like they have had, you are bound to have a poor series. It happens to all players in the world, but the problem here was all three of them struggled at the same time," Jayasuriya added.

The veteran also showered praise on young spinner Mendis who finished the Test series with a world record of 26 wickets.

"I am really happy for what Ajantha has done. He's come up the hard way and his rise to stardom is something of a fairy tale. He's a quiet kind of chap, who wants to keep improving. I have a particular liking for blokes who are the first to practice and the last to leave and Mendis is something similar. When you play at this level you need to keep working harder and improve your game every day," Jayasuriya said.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

India will hit back hard, warns Jayasuriya

India's Test team did not have to face Sanath Jayasuriya but the One-Day side would not be fortunate enough as he is back for the limited overs. However Jayasuriya insists that Indian ODI team would be looking to come back hard at the hosts.

"It will be an exciting series. Although, we have beaten them in the Tests, but complacency is the last thing we want to see. Their pride will be hurt, so they'll want to make sure they go home with a win in the One-Dayers," Jayasuriya was quoted as saying in Hinduatan Times

Jayasuriya also told the newspaper that he is all set to take the field and has no rustiness despite he having not played competitive cricket since the Asia Cup final, more than a month back.

"There hasn't been any domestic cricket, so I haven't spent time in the middle," he conceded. "But that's part and parcel of the game. You've got to be prepared for the challenge. These are the demands of international cricket."

The One-Day Internationals will start on August 18 in Dambulla.

India's famed batting line-up came under much criticism after their failure in the three-match Test series, but the left-hander begged to differ and came out in support of the beleaguered middle order.

"These things happen, you've got to expect that. I can't understand how one bad series can make them no good anymore, and how people can start speculating about their futures?," asked Jayasuriya.

He also had special praise for his Sachin Tendulkar.

"Sachin has had a long career and when you play for that long, you are bound to have a series like this. He was scoring all those runs in Australia not too long ago. He sets high standards for himself and I am sure he will bounce back. The unfortunate thing was that India had a few players going through a bad patch at the same time."

The legend also made it a point to mention about Virender Sehwag, who was the only saving grace with the bat for the Indians in the Test series.

"Sehwag is completely different. His hand-eye coordination is exceptional. It's good that he didn't change his style after a disappointing outing in the first Test."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

India's nemesis Jayasuriya back for ODIs

Colombo : Sanath Jayasuriya is back to torment the Indians yet again as Sri Lanka's selectors named him in a fairly predictable squad for the five match limited over series starting next Monday.

Also included is the double-edged spin duo of Ajantha Mendis and Muttiah Muralitharan along with Chaminda Vaas and the recalled Dilhara Fernando in a squad of 15.

It was the crushing Jayasuriya century at the Asia Cup final that not only rescued Sri Lanka but also created a problem for Mahendra Singh Dhoni's team in a game where Mendis spun a web of mystery that India's batsmen failed to unravel in the Test series at ended in an eight-wicket win on Monday at P Sara Oval.

The choice of openers as partners for Jayasuriya are Malintha Warnapura, who gets a deserved chance to display his capabilities after his impressive Test innings along with Mahela Udawatte.

One surprising omission from the squad is Dammika Prasad who blasted a hole in the Indian top order on debut in the Test that has just ended and the feeling is that he deserved an opportunity to bowl at tourists. While Prasad has been included in the A Team to tour South Africa later this month and in September, his place in the squad for the five-match series is Thilan Thushara.

Chamara Silva, who has lost his Test place, is preferred to Thilan Samaraweera who is looked on as a Test player. Chamara Kapugedara has been included, despite a patchy Asia Cup tournament, but no doubt his spin bowling will be seen to be useful.

Sri Lanka's selectors, involved in a rebuilding exercise, have agreed with Jayasuriya that it is time to allow him to concentrate on what is left of his career as a limited overs player and bring on new talent in the squad to be led by Mahela Jayawardene.

There is no time frame on when Jayasuriya is likely to retire as an ODI player, but chances are at this stage, once the Champions Trophy is over, he might take a second look at his options.

Sri Lanka have a limited overs series against Zimbabwe in November and from all accounts the selectors plan to use those games to rebuild a limited overs squad.

While the batting has a familiar look, so too does the bowling with the injured Farveez Maharoof still sidelined because of his rib muscle injury which is still causing concern. Although he has been included in the squad for the Champions Trophy, the absence of Maharoof, who made an impression in the Indian Premier League, has created a lower-order imbalance and probably the reason that Nuwan Kalusekara has been given the nod ahead of Prasad.

The ODI section of India's tour of the island is a practice game scheduled for P Sara Oval on Friday before transferring on Saturday to the cultural triangle town of Dambulla where the first two limited overs games are being played on Monday (18) and Wednesday (20).

Because of the Olympic Games schedule, these will be day games while the three at Premadasa are scheduled on August 24, 26 and 29.

Sri Lanka squad: Mahela Jayawardene (captain), Kumar Sangakkara (vice-captain), Sanath Jayasuriya, Mahela Udawatte, Chamara Silva, Chamara Kapugedara, Tillekaratne Dilshan, Chaminda Vass, Muttiah Muralitharan, Dilhara Fernando, Ajantha Mendis, Thilan Thushara, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jehan Mubarak, Malintha Warnapura.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Sanath Jayasuriya - Battle of the big hitters

The evolution of the One Day cricketer has not nearly been as explosive as the batting we currently watch in the 50 and now 20-over game.
Since limited overs cricket first reared its head in the 1970s there have been dashers in the batting line-up, of that, there is no doubt. The likes of Desmond Haynes, Viv Richards and Ian Botham have always taken the attack to the bowlers, but they, amongst few others, were the exception to the rule until Sri Lanka exploded out of the blocks at the 1996 Cricket World Cup. Four years earlier New Zealand had dabbled with the idea of the pinch-hitter in the formidable shape of Mark Greatbatch.
The well-set Black Cap opener was something of a prototype for the modern One Day top-order batsman ? big, strong, hits through the line and not afraid to give it a go to get the run rate up.
Sri Lanka, thanks to Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana, took note of the New Zealand innovation, polished it and came out with a model so refined and so blisteringly effective that the rest of the world was left stunned at the 1996 Cricket World Cup. The Sri Lanka Daily News wrote at the time, "The term 'pinch-hitter' was stolen from baseball to convey the tactic of an opening batsman given licence to adopt a high-risk approach against compulsory attacking fields. With his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana, Jayasuriya brought into play a new tactic where the first 15 overs were used as the last 15, to catch the opponents by surprise, and good enough to win the World Cup."
After the tournament Jayasuriya was voted the 'Most Valuable Player' and The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack broke tradition (only players who have performed in England are eligible) to name him as one of their Five Cricketers of the Year in 1997. Since Sri Lanka's successful run in that World Cup it's been all downhill for bowlers.
There was a time when 200 in a 50-over match was a defendable score, when 220-250 runs was a guaranteed winning total, when a score of 280-plus would send the chasing batsmen into fits of jelly-legged delirium at the wicket.
Those were the days. Now a score of 300 is no cause for concern with batsmen one through to seven generally capable of turning a match on its head. In the mid-1990s there were just a handful of international batsmen capable of smacking the leather off a cricket ball. Jayasuriya set the benchmark, but the likes of Shahid Afridi and Michael Slater ? a cavalier opening batsmen who was possibly ahead of his time ? weren't far behind.
South Africa experimented with the likes of Dave Callaghan, Mike Rindel, Richard Snell, Steven Jack and Nicky Boje at the top of the order. They all had their moment in the sun, but none found the consistency to keep them basking in it.
Today almost every international One Day team is brimming with big, innovative hitters. Jayasuriya is still murdering bowlers around the world, Yuvraj Singh of India, when the mood takes him, is the most destructive batsman in world cricket, Chris Gayle holds back for no one, Andrew Symonds is the key to Australia's lower-order momentum, and New Zealand, in a move that recalls memories of Greatbatch slamming boundary after boundary, now call on the beefy hitting of the rotund Jesse Ryder to get them off to a flyer

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Sandra talks about life with Sanath Jayasuriya :

From the Spouse's Mouth - Sunday Observer Sep 30 2007

SCARED OF HIS LADY FANS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sanath and Sandra with Savindi, Yalindi and Ranuka

"I was at the entrance greeting the passengers. Sanath was the next passenger. I was surprised, but greeted him, saying 'Ayubowan!'... He was in extremely simple attire.

Kept his bag on the ground and greeted me. And I still see that simplicity in Sanath. And that is something I really admire in him," says Sandra Tania de Silva Jayasuriya, the beloved wife of cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya.

"I cannot remember the date, but the year was 1999. It was the 'Madras flight' Sanath was returning not from a cricket match, but from Thirupathy," she continues. Sure!

Sanath might have been returning after making a vow; looking for a soothing solution for his tormented soul. So his vow turned into reality, then and there. He met his future wife on this flight.

"I was busy attending to the passengers. I had met Sanath before this at a birthday party of a friend. That day I went up to him to get his signature. And that was all.

However six months had passed since I met him first. I introduced myself to him. He said 'good bye' when getting off. I had met many prominent figures on board as an Air Hostess, so meeting Sanath, the cricketer was also just another encounter.

Sandra returned to her home at Kochchikade, Negombo and was reading a magazine when her mother peeped into the room and handed over the hand-telephone. "Hello, yes, Sandra here," she spoke.

"Hi, hope you remember me. I'm Sanath Jayasuriya," she heard from the other end. Sandra paused a moment to gather her thoughts. A pleasant surprise, but what did 'Sanath', the cricketer have to do with her? She was bewildered, but composed.

Sanath had dug her number out from her friend. But, why such a special interest? Sandra thought, must be for fun! However she couldn't resist when the famous 'Man of the Match' asked her for her mobile number.

After nine months the two gradually realised that they were for each other. However, Sandra's father who was a great fan of Sanath until he heard about his darling daughter's affair became an irritated opponent of the Black Cricket Prince.

"His fame would bring you a tough time," was her father's opinion."Eh! you will get a 'black' party. All your children will be pitch dark like him. I would feel like throwing them out of our boundary," her mother was sarcastic throughout pointing out the contrasts between the sun burnt cricketer and the beautiful fair Sandra. Even her only younger brother was not in a proper shape of mind to accept him.

Whatsoever, finally true love triumphed. Sanath became the 'Man of the Series' once again not on the pitch, but in his real life. After nine months of their meeting in Madras, on June 19, 2000, Sandra and Sanath promised before God to be together until death do them part at a private Mass held at St. Jude Cathedral, a small chapel at Mattegoda.

The Mass followed a family Reception along with a few close relatives and friends at his Boralesgamuwa residence.

"Before one week of the marriage a Pirith Pinkama conducted by the Buddhist priests at Vapikaramaya, Boralesgamuwa was held, and both families took part. On the same evening of the Reception, Sanath had a match in Galle. I joined him. We had our honeymoon there," she smiles.

Sandra Jayasuriya

Sandra studied at Ave Maria Convent, Negombo and sat for her A/Ls in Languages. "My dream was to become an air hostess. It tossed into my mind along with a wish of a good friend of mine. 'I wish you would be a lovely Air Hostess one day,' was what she wrote in Sandra's book of autographs.

"I didn't know who an Air hostess was, and asked my father about it. He showed me a tour journal comprising an Air crew and explained. I was about twelve years then.

Since then I started collecting pictures of Air Crew. And just after A/Ls, before I got my results I joined Air Lanka. I have visited 28 countries and 33 destinations," she says.

"I worked about ten years. But I always wanted to be like my mother one day - a housewife. My father retired as a Airport Representative for Trans Asia Hotel. My mother's world was us, her family. So before marriage I quit. It was my decision and not his," says Sandra.

Within the past seven years three little members entered the nest of Sandra and Sanath - two daughters and a son. Savindi is five and half years, Yalindi is two and half and little Ranuka is 11 months. "I got Dengue in the seventh month when I was pregnant with our son.

Luckily it was diagnosed at the very inception and I was hospitalised for 12 days. It was a nightmare! Also the doctors said it was a girl for the third time as well. I was upset as I was yearning for a boy. However I made up my mind to accept this. But at the theatre miraculously a boy came to me," she laughs.

Question: Tell us how it's like to be the wife of a world famous Cricketer. How does his fame affect you especially with the female fans?

Sandra:! (laughs). I entertain the genuine fans of his, I mean whether it's males or females, I don't mind. But there were times that his fame bugged me, especially with feminine fan clubs who were enticed and mesmerised over him. But I clear my doubts then and there with him. I don't bottle up things inside (laughs). He treats everyone equally.

"When cricket is not right, nothing is right with him. He is extremely punctual for Cricket practices. First, I wondered what was going on with him. He was always on the move.

Later I realised his passion for the sport. I noticed the BIG smile on his face after winning a Match, and when he lost, the bad tone. Even in sleep he worries about the loss, especially if he has lost due to a careless shot. We rarely get free time. But, recently we went to England for two months and enjoyed it thoroughly. No one knew him and he had only us.

I felt like not coming back," she laughs. "I used to go everywhere he went. I still do whenever I can, but, now my priority is my children. I want to give them the best education and then the simple life which Sanath follows. I do like it if our son plays Cricket too.

Question: What are the bad qualities you see in him?

Sandra: Hah! Hah! Ha! Inability to stay at one place. Even now you might have noticed it. If he doesn't have anything to do he would at least walk up and down. (Sanath was rotating the earphone wire of his mobile. And then walked back into the house. Yes, he was on the move.)

Question: How does he face difficult situations?

Sandra: Things are mainly put on to me. He prefers a calm and quiet atmosphere. When things are on pins he might move to the gym. So when he returns everything is in its proper order. He likes a carefree life. But that doesn't mean he neglects the family.

No, no, don't take me wrong. But you can't drag him to a serious argument. Basically you can't argue with him as he starts laughing. Meal time is the best time to start a serious conversation with him as he is not pre-occupied then. Sanath rarely gets angry.

All three little ones are very much attached to Sanath. Both daughters are almost on top of him when he is at home. He likes to get his legs massaged. They know about it and love to put cream and give the best massage to their father. (Little Ranuka begins to chew his own shoe while on Thatha's lap. Next moment he starts to lick his father's face).

Question: Common interest of both?

Sandra: Both like to listen to music. Clarence Wijewardane and Milton Mallawarachchi are our favourites. Sanath can sing Milton's songs. Recently he joined Bhathiya-Santhush and sang a Hindi song to their new release. When I asked him whether he knew the meaning of the Hindi words he sang, he said 'no'...(laughs)

Question: Unforgettable incident?

Sandra: The day I became a mother. Then meeting Sidath Wettamuni (laughs). Well I was a fan of veteran cricketer Sidath when I was schooling and used to collect his pictures and paper articles.

So after we got married Sanath took me to Sidath's place. It was the first time I met him. I was so happy and couldn't believe myself that I was sitting just in front of Sidath. Sanath told Sidath's wife Sharmini that his wife had been a great fan of her husband.

(laughs) Well, also I'm a fan of Bryan Lara as well. I wanted to get his signature, but was too shy. So at the recent World Cup, Sanath took my autograph book and got Lara's signature. I've asked Sanath to invite Lara and his family home, but he hasn't done that yet.

He might be a little jealous about me being a fan of Lara.

Question: What do you want to see in him most?

Sandra: I love to see him getting century after century. And then to have more time for us. And also not to get caught to dishonest people. Some opportunists try to trap him by using his fame. That really makes me mad.

Question: Politics? How would you mind his involvements in politics?

Sandra: Oh, Gosh! No way! Simply no way! A big no way!

Question: What really attracted you towards him?

Sandra: Sanath knows how to approach his targets. He makes you feel secured in his hands. He somehow won the consent of my family as well. Now they are best buddies of his. My parents have been with me and my family throughout.

Though my mother said I would get 'black' children and she would throw them out, she has been the very person behind all my kids. Luckily my little ones are not dark, but mid complexioned.

Question: His family?

Sandra: His parents are ok. I'm grateful to his mother for giving me a son like Sanath. The credit should go to her.

"I'm Roman Catholic and Sanath is a Buddhist. Our children basically follow Buddhism, and learn the spirit of both religions. I don't want certain labels on them, and want my children to be good citizens.

I accompany Sanath and the children to the temple and he comes with me to the church. I'm not that much of a 'church-person', but every morning I pray to God and give myself and my family into his hands, and I try my best to have a clear and pure conscience".

Related Posts with Thumbnails


Sanath Jayasuriya Blogspot is a fan BLOG and is not affiliated to any official cricket board, partners or vendors or company or individuals.

www.sanath189.blogspot.comBlogs/ Pages/ Content/Images or any articles are for informational purposes only.

THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL SITE FOR THE INDIVIDUAL. This is a purely informational site about the individual and it is not affiliated with, or endorsed by, the individual. This information on this site was obtained from public sources, and may not be accurate, complete or up-to-date.
Clicky Web Analytics