Friday, June 12, 2009

Sangakkara backs Sanath Jayasuriya for World Cup 2011

Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara has backed veteran Sanath Jayasuriya to feature at the next World Cup.

Jayasuriya, 40 later this month, crashed himself back into form ahead of the Super Eight clash against Pakistan at Lord's, with 81 from just 47 balls against West Indies.

Having arrived at this tournament in poor form, it was a perfectly-timed return to prominence for the explosive left-hander.

Jayasuriya retired from international cricket in 2006 but almost immediately reneged on that decision and his worth is still acknowledged by his colleagues 20 years after his debut.

"We have a World Cup coming up in 2011, so the decision is ultimately his," Sangakkara said.

"We are just happy to have him because he has won a lot of games for us, and I strongly believe he is going to win a lot more. Can he make the World Cup? Why not.

"He can keep going as long as he is fit. In Sri Lanka we are trying to move away from talking too much about age and potential and moving more towards about performance.

"It doesn't matter how old you are, in my view. If you are fit, scoring the runs and taking the wickets and doing the work at training, those are the people that are key when it comes to building a side.

"Because they can be a great example for youngsters coming in or even watching the game.

"They see how well these guys prepare and how much hard work goes into becoming a good player."

Jayasuriya struggled in the warm-up matches and was not at his ferocious best in the second season of the Indian Premier League, so his innings of 10 fours and three sixes, was well received by the Sri Lankans.

"As a unit we have never had any questions about what Sanath can do," Sangakkara added.

"We have seen it for years and we were just waiting until he worked his way into the tournament.

"It was great for his confidence, and for that of the team in general, that he got the runs he did.

"The manner in which he got them was very encouraging: we want him to feel comfortable and not worry about having to do anything special other than just be himself and be a part of our side.

"We want him there, we think he's a matchwinner and as long as he is fit and willing to play for us, we are happy to have him."

Sri Lanka face Pakistan for the first time since being targets in the Lahore terror attacks in March.

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