Saturday, December 19, 2009

Is it the end of Sanath Jayasuriya ?

Uncertain Number :Jayasuriya gets the boot in the second ODI. Time is fast running out for the Matara marauder

Sanath Jayasuriya is just a week away from completing 20 years in one-day international cricket. The hard-hitting left-hander had made his debut against Australia at Melbourne way back in 1989, which is some achievement. 

That said, there are questions being raised if the marauder from Matara will continue his ballistic journey any further. More so after the treatment the 40-year-old is getting from the current Sri Lankan brains trust.

The veteran was dropped from the team that took on the India in the second ODI at Nagpur yesterday. Age surely isn’t on Jayasuriya’s side — the man, who along with his opening partner Romesh Kaluwitharana, changed the way teams approached the first 15 over in mid-1990’s. He keeps getting these nasty reminders that he’s outlived his welcome each time he has a bad game. 

Jayasuriya has already quit Test cricket and insists on playing the shorter version of the game. The former skipper has always maintained that it is the form which should matter and not the age. He proved that correct after thrashing a 21-ball 39 as an opener is the second Twenty20 game in Mohali.

However, in the first ODI at Rajkot he was shunted down the batting order and could only manage five as the Sri Lankan’s chased 414. 

They had cruised to 316-2 in 36 overs and the team had backed Jayasuriya to dig deep into his 441 match experience. It wasn’t to be and as a consequence he was benched in favour of a rookie bits and pieces player Suraj Randiv.

Questions on Jayasuriya’s role in the Sri Lankan set-up had been asked of captain Kumar Sangakkara ever since he landed in India. He was clear that the veteran will have to fight for his place in ODI and his future will depend on the runs he gets. 

The Islanders have trained their eye on the 2011 World Cup and Jayasuriya’s comeback depends on how his replacements in the team do. 

For now the man who’s taken his place is Upul Tharanga. Mahela Jayawardene revealed the team’s thinking behind the decision. “To be fair to Tharanga, he has been very consistent with the bat. Now Dilshan is doing Jayasuriya’s job. You need one guys who is a bit steady and the other going all guns blazing. You don’t want to be 10-2 after five overs. You need a bit of stability when someone is going the way Dilshan is going I don’t know if that’s a permanent decision but for this series its going to be Upul and Dilshan will be opening the opening the innings.” 

It is believed Jayasuriya has lost some of the support with the selectors too. They want him to win one in three games and take on the role of an all-rounder. They though know that he has a great record in sub-continent and will find this aspect tough to ignore when the look to plan fro 2011 World Cup co-hosted by India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. 

As for Jayasuriya and what he thinks about the whole debate he has just one thing to say: “When critics have nothing to say, they come start talking about my age,” he had told us during the IPL in South Africa.

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