Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sanath’s has been an unbelievable story - Mahela Jayawardene

With 9,120 runs in Tests and 8,702 in ODIs, Mahela Jayawardene is pretty qualified to talk about the two batsmen who’ve recently completed 20 years at the international level — Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya.

He has, in fact, been in the same dressing room with one and competed against the other.

Over breakfast at the Mount View Hotel, on Saturday, Jayawardene (a former national captain) spoke to The Telegraph on the giants. Sanath has, of course, retired from Test cricket.

For the record, Jayawardene has himself been around, at the highest level, for 13 years. In the ongoing IPL, he’s turning out for the Kings XI Punjab, captained by his Sri Lanka successor Kumar Sangakkara.

The following are excerpts

Thoughts on Sachin (36) and Sanath (40): Their records do all the talking... I don’t have to speak about the quality of their achievements, the world knows everything... What stands out is that they’ve been around for 20 years... To sustain the intensity for such a long period is amazing... They’ve been disciplined, they’ve been committed and they’ve been passionate. They’ve shown all the qualities of a champion sportsman.

On Sanath: He’s one of those unbelievable stories... Sanath emerged from a region (Matara) which hadn’t produced a really big name, came to Colombo and went about proving a point... Nobody before him came from way down south with such ambitions... Sanath established himself at a time our cricket was turning a page, getting away from the traditional way of playing the game... After the 1996 World Cup, thanks to the way Sanath and (Romesh) Kaluwitharana went about the first 15 overs, teams had to change strategy... Sanath didn’t change his game, rather every opposition had to plot differently... He helped us build our identity and didn’t listen to those who wanted him to change his approach... He had the confidence to deliver on his terms.

Sanath’s USP: Fitness, confidence... We aren’t surprised that Sanath has decided to contest the upcoming Parliamentary elections... He has, after all, the aura... This is a new challenge for him and he’s bound to be supremely confident... Sanath believes he can do anything and, who knows, may one day become Sri Lanka’s President! It’s difficult to stop somebody with such self-belief and so much confidence. Sanath has achieved everything in cricket, now he has set himself a different goal...

[In 110 Tests, Sanath finished with 6,973 runs and 14 hundreds; in 444 ODIs, he has 13,428 runs with 28 hundreds.]

On there being much to learn from Sachin and Sanath

Yes... Commitment, discipline and confidence... Both have been tops in commitment, have been most disciplined and have always been supremely confident... They’ve believed in a certain way of doing things and have backed themselves... Those with big dreams need to emulate what I’ve listed. Clearly, you can’t have better role models.

Finally, if he had a son, whether he would make him bat like Sachin or Sanath

(Laughs) No... I’ll tell you why... I believe it’s important to have your own identity. Sure, if I had a son, I’d like him to look up to Sachin and Sanath, but I’d also most definitely like him to be himself... To carve his own identity... If you try copying others, there’s every chance you could lose your way... Draw inspiration, but be yourself... Build on your identity... That, for me, is the only way forward...


Monday, March 22, 2010

Unity is our team strength - Sanath Jayasuriya | Mauler's Notes IPL 2010


OUR seven-wicket defeat to Royal Challengers on Saturday night was obviously disappointing, but we just have to dust ourselves down, learn what we can from the loss and focus on our next challenge: a very tough game against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday.

The beauty about this Mumbai Indians team is that we are very close. It’s like a family this year with everyone united. We are all supporting each other and we’re all focused on the team’s goals. That is very important when you are playing in a competition like this.

The big turning point in our defeat to the Royal Challengers was that disastrous 11th over of the innings when we lost Rayudu, Sachin and Bravo, slumping from 74 for three to 76 for six. We’d also struggled a little bit at the start of the innings with me departing early. So it was a shame that I could not stay with Sachin and build a big opening partnership.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sanath knows what is good for him - Robin Singh

The poor form of Sanath Jayasuriya notwithstanding, Mumbai Indians coach Robin Singh today threw his weight behind the Sri Lankan and said he would soon bounce back and rediscover the lost rythm.

"Sanath is a seasoned cricketer and he knows what is best for him. It is a question of getting him motivated to play his role," Singh told reporters ahead of encounter against Kolkata Knight Riders here tomorrow.

The Matara marauder has got out cheaply scoring 23, 7 and 2 in his team's previous three matches.

Terming the shot selection of the batsmen against Royal Challengers Bangalore as bad, Singh hoped that the team will be more careful with the choice of their shots in the next game.

"I think we were just bad. I hope the guys will be more focused and probably be more careful about shot selection," he said.
Asked whether the team had any plans for Chris Gayle, Singh said, "Not really thought about it, we are just focusing on what we want to do and what team we want to play."

"(It) hardly matters (how big a hitter Gayle is). There are many big hitters in the tournament," he added.


Friday, March 05, 2010

Jayasuriya, Maharoof among probables for T20 World Cup

All rounders Sanath Jayasuriya and Farveez Maharoof have made a return to the Sri Lanka squad after a long lapse as national cricket selectors named a 30-member probable squad for the ICC Twenty20 World Cup starting in West Indies on April 30.

Star player Maharoof was not considered for selection for nearly one and a half years due to injuries that plagued him constantly.

But the most noteworthy is the inclusion of veteran Jayasuriya who has found some of his old magic both with the bat and the ball in the current inter provincial T20 tournament.

The 40-year old legend who is contesting the forthcoming April 8 General Election under the ruling People’s Alliance from the Matara District will be an automatic choice for the opener’s slot on his present form and will partner Tillekratne Dilshan at the top of the batting order, sources said.

Jayasuriya suffered a set back in his international form in recent times and was dropped from the Sri Lanka ODI team for the last two tours.

If Jayasuriya gets elected to the parliament, the T20 World Cup will be his first historic international cricket tour as an Member of Parliament (MP).

National selectors had picked the 30 probables three weeks ago and the squad had reportedly been sent to the ICC.

Sri Lanka finished runners up to Pakistan at last year’s T20 World Cup in England and this has prompted selectors to pick T20 specialists and all rounders for this year’s squad, sources said.

Selectors had wanted to include a few big hitters with the capability of hitting sixes in the late order to bat through the last few overs of the innings.

After picking the 30-probables, selectors have further pruned down the squad this week to 25 in consultation with skipper Kumar Sangakkara and coach Trevor Bayliss. They have kept pace bowler Dilhara Fernando, but had discussed at length about his erratic form.

Selectors will meet up once again next week after this Sunday’s Inter Provincial T20 tournament final to pick the final 15-member squad for the World Cup.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Jayasuriya not first, but questions galore

Sanath Jayasuriya is not the first cricketer to enter into politics while still playing. The former England captain Ted Dexter continued playing for the country having contested for the Conservatives, and losing, in the UK general election in 1964.

And the legendry England cricketer, footballer and holder of world long-jump record C. B. Fry stood, unsuccessfully, for the Liberal Party three times.

But Jayasuriya, who holds many cricket world records may be on his way to creating another one. He will be the only cricketer ever to have played international cricket while being an MP.

Jayasuriya's decision to run in April's parliamentary elections has also created fresh controversy in the cricket loving nation.

Sri Lankan Sports Minister, Gamini Lokuge, told the BBC Sinhala service that even every member of the national cricket team has a right to be a parliamentarian while playing international cricket.

"We are not concerned whether they are parliamentarians or not. If they are qualified and still playing cricket, they all have the opportunity to play for the country."

"They all can be MPs but they should attend practice sessions and obey the rules of the game," he adds.

Jayasuriya who had retired from Test cricket said he would continue playing one-day internationals (ODIs) representing Sri Lanka and in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

"Since I am not playing Test Cricket, I will have enough time for politics," he said.

Speaking to the BBC Tamil service Jayasuriya said: "I have already campaigned for the president in the last elections. He requested me to contest this election."

Sri Lanka's former Test captain Arjuna Ranatunga said about Jayasuriya’s decision to enter politics while still playing. "Jayasuriya is in the last stages of his career and we know very well that he currently holds no permanent place in the team”."Jayasuriya has indicated that he would continue to play until the 2011 World Cup, so as he has currently no permanent place, perhaps he might be trying to use his political influence to get a permanent place in the team, " says Ranatunga.

Sri Lanka's only woman Olympic medallist, Susanthika Jayasinghe, is another sports personality contesting the parliamentary election.

Jayasinghe claimed that she was invited to enter into politics a few years ago but she refused.

"Then I could not chose one political party over another as I was representing my motherland and I needed everybody's blessings for that journey," she said.

Legal experts say there is nothing in the law to prevent sports personalities from contesting elections while playing for the country.

But a former chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises, Wijedasa Rajapaksa, PC, said it was "unfortunate" that Jayasuriya had decided to break a long-standing tradition of sports personalities not being involved in politics while still active in sport.

Some critics also say the sports minister's decision to support Jayasuriya appears to contradict some of the choices he has made in the past.

They point to the time when the minister rejected a proposal by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to appoint former Test captain Hashan Thilakaratne, currently an opposition politician, as the manager of the team.

"The same minister then rejected Hashan's nomination saying he should either chose sports or politics," says Arjuna Ranathunga, who was the then president of the SLC.

Minister Lokuge says he still holds the same view regarding the issue.

"Jaysuriya is a player but Thilakratne was to be appointed as the manager who controls the team. If we appoint a politician as the manager of the national cricket team, he might have been biased towards one political party," he says.

“The apparent duplicity in authorities' views is an indication of the direction the country is heading in”, said Wijedasa Rajapaka.

"If Jayasuriya was to contest from an opposition political party while playing for the country, he would have been shown the door from the team on the same day. This is the reality in Sri Lanka.", said Rajapaksa.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Sanath Jayasuriya takes flak after entering politics

Veteran Sri Lanka batsman Sanath Jayasuriya came under fire today for his decision to enter politics while still playing for the national team.

Jayasuriya will contest April 8 parliamentary elections as a candidate for President Mahinda Rajapakse's Freedom Alliance party in his home constituency of Matara.

The 40 year-old, the oldest cricketer still playing at the top level in the world, retired from Test cricket in 2007 but has vowed to continue his international career in the shorter forms of the game.

"His career is waning. He has set a bad precedent by entering politics before retiring completely from cricket," said Arjuna Ranatunga, the 1996 World Cup winning skipper, who took to politics only after he quit the game.
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