Jayasuriya returns - then bows out
Sri Lanka sprung a surprise by recalling Sanath Jayasuriya for the limited-overs leg of their tour of England - before he provided an even greater one by announcing he will retire midway through the series.
The opener, who turns 42 later this month, was named in a 16-man squad only hours before he revealed he will hang up his boots after the solitary Twenty20 international and the first of five one-day internationals.
“I invited you not to share the happiness of my being selected to play for Sri Lanka again, but to announce my decision to end my international career of more than 20 years,” Jayasuriya told reporters in Colombo.
“I consider it a privilege to have represented Sri Lanka to bring glory to my country and the town of Matara where I come from. The selectors picked me for the whole series but it was my personal decision to retire midway.”
With fellow opener Upul Tharanga unavailable as he prepares to face a disciplinary panel following reports of a failed drugs test during the World Cup, Jayasuriya returns to the international fold for the first time since last summer’s World Twenty20. He has not played a one-day international since December 2009.
A Sri Lanka Cricket statement read: “Since there is an ongoing inquiry to verify this charge, Upul Tharanga will not be making himself available for selection until the conclusion of the inquiry and therefore will not be available for the ODI and T20 matches in England and the Sri Lanka A Team tour of England.”
Jayasuriya’s Sri Lanka career was thought to be over when he failed to win a place in the World Cup squad, but his inclusion today at least offers him the chance to bow out on his own terms.
He has scored 13,428 runs (at an average of 32.43) in 444 ODIs stretching back to 1989 - only Sachin Tendulkar can better either tally - in addition to taking 322 wickets at 36.72 apiece.
Jayasuriya will probably be remembered most fondly for his exploits at the 1996 World Cup, when his pinch-hitting at the top of the order alongside Romesh Kaluwitharana not only helped Sri Lanka lift the trophy but helped redefine the art of one-day batting.
Although captain Tillakaratne Dilshan is a fitness doubt with a fractured thumb - he is expected to sit out the final Test of the series, starting next Thursday - he is named in a 16-man squad as expected.
While predecessor Kumar Sangakkara will lead the side in the third Test at the Rose Bowl, left-handed batsman Thilina Kandamby has been installed as Dilshan’s one-day understudy.
All-rounder Angelo Mathews will travel subject to fitness - he missed the World Cup final and the Test series in England due to a thigh injury - while pace bowler Lasith Malinga, now retired from Test cricket, is also included.
By contrast, Test players Thilan Samaraweera, Lahiru Thirimanne, Farveez Maharoof, Chanaka Welagedara, Tharanga Paranavitana, Rangana Herath and wicketkeepers Prasanna Jayawardene and Kaushal Silva will not stay on for the limited-overs contests.
The Twenty20 international takes place at Bristol on June 25, before the NatWest Series gets under way at the Kia Oval three days later.
Sri Lanka T20 & ODI squad: Tillakaratne Dilshan (captain), Thilina Kandamby (vice-captain), Kumar Sangakkara, Sanath Jayasuriya, Dimuth Karunaratne, Mahela Jayawardene, Dinesh Chandimal, Angelo Mathews, Jeevan Mendis, Thisara Perera, Lasith Malinga, Nuwan Kulasekera, Suranga Lakmal, Dilhara Fernando, Suraj Randiv, Ajantha Mendis.