Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Jayasuriya : Individual performances do not matter | Interview

Damboola, Sri Lanka: Although he no longer features in Test matches, Sanath Jayasuriya is still scoring hundreds for Sri Lanka in international cricket. Not just that, he is going places. Soon after this series against India, he will fly to Durban to play for Natal and then will go to India to turn out for Mumbai in the second edition of IPL. He is a busy bee these days!

However, he was not aware of the fact that he had broken the record of Geoffrey Boycott to become the eldest cricketer to score a hundred in one-day matches. Following are excerpts from an exclusive chat with the maestro:

Gulf News: Congrats for the 28th hundred. How does it feel to break the record of Geoffrey Boycott?

Jayasuriya: Which record? I did not know about it!

Before your latest hundred, Boycott was the eldest to score a ton in one-day Internationals ...

Is it? When did he score that? Against whom?

He had scored it against Australia in Sydney in 1979, when he was 39 years and 51 days old. You are now 39 years and 212 days old!

Against Australia? Oh, that's nice. Then this is really an achievement for me to have broken his record. I am happy. But I would have been happier had my team won the last game.

Still, you were the Man of the Match

That's okay. But again, I have to say that individual performances do not matter if your team is not winning. It's important to have contributed to the team's cause and that's what every player looks for. So, despite scoring another hundred in international cricket, I am not happy.

Till now, you have scored 2,633 runs against India with 7 hundreds. The Indian bowlers seem to be the favourites on your list!

Well, I am playing for almost 19 years in international cricket. Just the other day, I came to know that I had scored more than two-and-a-half thousand runs against Pakistan. When one is playing for his country for years, these milestones will be reached. I am happy to be able to score against quality opponents even now.

What was special about this 28th hundred?

Nothing much. It was tremendously hot out in the middle. My target was to be there till the first 15 overs and then to be at the wicket for as many overs as possible. But the heat made it almost impossible. It is quite natural for a man of my age to feel so. But that's part of the game and it gave me lots of confidence.

Now that you have more than 13,000 runs in one-day matches and 28 hundreds, you are second to Sachin Tendulkar only ...

Since I am continuing to play one-dayers for almost two decades now, there are bound to be some runs and hundreds in the bank, is not it? But Sachin is a genius. He will always be on top of all of us.

Sachin had said that he wanted to continue playing till the 2011 World Cup. Do you have similar plans?

I cannot say it now. I do not know whether I shall be able to survive the next two years. I am not playing Test matches any more. Just playing the one-dayers. And as long as I am enjoying the game, I shall be continuing. I have not thought about a particular tournament or so.

What is your next assignment?

I went to Pakistan straight from Durban. And after this series, will return to Durban to play for the Natal side yet again. Actually, I know nothing except playing and these days, it has been a great journey, I must say.

Last year, the Mumbai Indians could not do that well in the Indian Premier League (IPL). What are your expectations from this year's edition of the tournament?

Well, I hope this year will be better. Sachin has done a good job by roping in Zaheer Khan from Bangalore. Zaheer is a rhythmic bowler and at the moment, he is bowling really well. So having him in the side will have its good effects. It was really an intelligent decision from the Mumbai captain.

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