Friday, July 16, 2010

Jayasuriya denied central contract

The Sri Lankan Cricket Board has decided not to hand veteran all-rounder Sanath Jayasuriya a central contract although off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was included in the 20-man list even after announcing he would retire from Test cricket after the first match against India at Galle in three days time.

The 41-year-old swashbuckler though has no regret at missing the contract. “I have no regrets. Those who perform well, get contracts. I can’t comment on who has taken this decision, but even without a contract, I can play for the country,” he told this paper from Worcestershire on Thursday.

Jayasuriya will not be able to witness Murali’s farewell Test as well. “I am returning (to Sri Lanka) by the end of this month and will miss watching him at the stadium. However, I have already sent him a good luck message for his last Test. He is a great player who has done lot for the country and not only we, as teammates, but the entire nation will miss him,” Jayasuriya added.

Jayasuriya, a veteran of 110 Tests and 444 ODIs, has witnessed an extended slump in form and possesses an average of under three in the last six Twenty20 matches he played for the country. “We had discussions over the last few weeks with senior players, Sri Lanka Cricket, selectors and team management to try and put a value on the national contracts. In that regard we decided we will try and reduce the number of national contracted players to 20 from 30,” chairman of selectors Aravinda de Silva said.

The SLC, however, included two newcomers — off spinner Suraj Randiv and batsman Dinesh Chandimal — in the contract list and have placed the duo in Category Six.

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