LONDON — Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara wants star batsman Sanath Jayasuriya to carry on playing for just as long as he can after the veteran opener proved age was no barrier to success at the World Twenty20.
Aged 39 and the oldest player in the tournament, left-hander Jayasuriya ended a brief run of indifferent form with a sparkling 81 in Sri Lanka's 15-run win over the West Indies at Trent Bridge on Thursday.
Both sides were already through to the second phase Super Eights but the bonus for Sri Lanka was to see Jayasuriya, whose innings featured his trademark cuts for six over point, look back to his best in a stay of just 47 balls.
Jayasuriya called time on his Test career in 2007 but his latest knock was proof that the man whose aggressive batting revolutionised the one-day game during Sri Lanka's 1996 World Cup triumph, remains a potent forced in limited overs cricket.
"As a side, we have never had questions over what he can do," Sangakkara told reporters at Lord's on Thursday. "We were just waiting till he made his way into the tournament.
"It's great for his confidence and the team's confidence. He got the runs that we needed and the manner in which he got them," the wicket-keeper/batsman added.
"We need him to play the way he has played for years now.
"He's a match winner and as long as he's fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him. He'll be 40 soon. The decision is finally his.
"We are happy to have him in the side. He's won us lot matches and I am sure he will win a lot of games as well for us in the future.
"It doesn't matter how old you are," Sangakkara stressed. "In my view, if you are fit, scoring runs taking wickets and doing the hard work at training, that's what we require."
Sri Lanka, unbeaten at the tournament so far after wins over Australia and the West Indies, begin their second phase Super Eights programme against Pakistan at Lord's on Friday.
Source : AFP