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With peace returning to the island nation, Jayasuriya rings alarm bell for cricketing world
January 2, 2014, 11:16 am

Peace has come to Sri Lanka after 30 long years, and we intend to use this peace properly so that everyone lives happily, revealed Sri Lankan MP and chairman of Cricket Selectors Sanath Jayasuriya, who was on a short visit to Kuwait to inaugurate the 43rd branch of Al Mulla International Exchange in Abbassiya.

Taking time from his busy schedule to speak to The Times about his new assignment and the plans he has for Sri Lankan cricket, Jayasuriya said, “There is a concern that Sri Lankan cricket has not been performing well, particularly the test team, in last few seasons and as a result the minister of sports has appointed me as chairman of selectors along with a new team, to revamp and induce a new momentum in the cricket team. “

“We have appointed a new young and dynamic captain, Angelo Mathews, for the test and one-day team, and Chandimal for theT-20 team, and plan to bring in a lot of young talented players with the aim of building a new team for the next 10 years.” “Our meetings with the coaching staff, physios, and all those involved has been very clear and ensure they take their responsibilities very seriously and so cricketers can concentrate on the game,” he disclosed while stating that Sri Lanka has a lot of talent and that it was now time to give opportunity to the youngsters so that team building takes place.

Commenting on match-fixing Jayasuriya said players are fully aware of this menace and know the risks involved. “It’s like playing with your life,” There are a lot of awareness and programs conducted to inform players of the bad repercussions.

Jayasuriya also revealed that the new selection committee has plans to further strengthen cricket at the school level and under-19 cricket so that new talent is spotted. “Since the 30-year old war is over, Sri Lanka has enjoyed peace and prosperity and we plan to hold tournaments in the northern parts so that cricket is developed there.

Jayasuriya is the only ODI cricketer to have held the records of fastest 50, fastest 100 and fastest 150 at the same time. The fastest 50 stands tall even to this date more than a decade later, almost like Bob Beamon`s `Leap of the Century`. There wouldn’t be many, even decades from now, to cross 13,000 runs, play in excess of 400 ODIs and also take more than 300 wickets in ODIs. He even boasts of a century after turning 39, an incredible achievement in itself.

This all-round achievement speaks volumes of his talent. What is even more incredible is the fact that he has seldom been given credit for his bowling, so intimidating and alluring was the spectacle of watching him with the bat.

Indians would remember him as their greatest nemesis both with the bat and the ball. No wonder his highest in tests and ODIs of 340 and 189 came against them. It certainly portrays the genius of a man, that he could change a century old game and the way it is perceived in just a few innings.

ODI cricket, almost two and a half decades old, received a new definition too, in the 1996 WC when Sanath, along with Romesh Kaluwitharana, his able lieutenant, destroyed or rather pulverized one bowling attack after another with ruthless disdain. The fact, that India chose to bat 2nd on an Eden Gardens pitch (where the ball turns square under dew) and lose was almost single-handedly influenced by Sanath, because no boundaries seemed big and no targets unachievable, when the lefthander with sledgehammer shots and steel forehands walked down to the arena.

It is not the statistics that are important. Great actions are seldom defined by numbers. Numbers are more like the signature at the bottom of a masterpiece.

Painters are hardly ever identified by their signatures. The canvas sings paeans and the colors are testimony enough. That is true for Sanath too, who would be remembered more for the fear he struck in the hearts of the best, vilest, smartest, trickiest and fastest of bowlers during his heyday. And fear as we know isn`t defined by numbers, or by awards or trophies.

As a cricketer Jayasursiya excelled taking Sri Lankan cricket to heights it never saw before, now in his new role as chairman of selectors Jayasuriya is exuberant about bringing back the glory that Sri Lankan cricket once enjoyed.

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